LETTER FROM THE EDITOR, FEBRUARY 2013

The not unexpected results of the Israeli election ensure only more of the same for Palestinians of the Occupied Territories. In the unlikely event that anyone was hoping for a change of direction in Tel Aviv, they can now put their minds at rest, and rule it out.

Embarking on his second term of office, the US President Barack Obama, chose three senior figures – John Kerry for the State Department, John Brennan for the CIA and Chuck Hagel for the Defense Department – who, according to the Washington Times. “range from clueless to hostile about Israel.” The President’s actions seem to have given rise to optimism in some quarters that his selection indicates a measure of hope for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza.

Read the Washington paper’s descriptions again – the President has recruited officials ranging from ‘clueless’ to ‘hostile’ on Israel. If there is anything that indicates hope for the Palestinians in that, I’m sorry, but I fail to see it myself.

True, those who purport to speak for the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are not doing a whole lot to help themselves with their constant carping and squabbling. Who needs ‘divide and rule’ from Tel Aviv when you have the home grown recipe so close at hand?

For close to 40 years, since we began publishing, The Middle East magazine – along with so many others – has championed the cause of the Palestinians. Yet still the struggle, with all its concomitant woes, continues. Infact, some might argue with justification that, despite the decades of goodwill, the oppression is more sophisticated and effective now than at any point in history.

Why anyone was waiting for the results of the Israeli election – or the US election come to that – for the definitive answer is beyond me. The problem of Israeli efforts to annihilate the Palestinians is an international issue of far too great importance to be left to just one nation of people – or another – to decide.

Like Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa, both of which – it should be remembered – had their supporters back in the day, the Palestinian problem can only be solved by united international determination and decisive action. And that time for that action is now, not next month, next year or in the wake of one more glitzy election a million light years from the suffering, checkpoints, high security walls and fences of the West Bank and Gaza.

Pat Lancaster, Editor


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