As the convoluted, mind-boggling blather that composes our presidential debates flies over the public airwaves, certain glaring omissions become apparent.
With the public focus on hot-topic issues such as the war in Iraq, other equally important issues such as the Israel/Palestine conflict are glossed over or ignored completely.
This is especially tragic considering the major streak of recent violence in the area, and the key role the United States plays in that violence.
Throughout September, homemade Qasam missiles have been streaming out of the occupied territories, accompanied by a bloody invasion by Israeli forces.
While Kerry and Bush may be too busy with the undecided voters to notice, the United Nations did notice and earlier this week voted on a resolution co-sponsored by Algeria and Pakistan.
The resolution called for “the immediate cessation of all military operations in the area of northern Gaza and the withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from that area” and also renounced “the broad military incursion and attacks by Israeli occupying forces” in Gaza.
While the resolution received more than the necessary nine votes needed to pass, the United States once again used its veto power to block for Israel.
Pakistan, China, France, Russia, Angola, Chile, Spain, Algeria, Benin, Brazil and the Philippines all voted in favor of the resolution, while Britain, Germany and Romania abstained.
The United States has used its veto power about 80 times, and almost 30 of those times were to block anti-Israel resolutions.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth said he opposed the resolution because it failed to chastise the Palestinians for the violent actions and missiles.
It’s possible that the eleven countries that passed the resolution may have overlooked this detail because of the lopsided death tolls that resulted.
While Israel has reported just five human deaths since Sept. 29, including two young girls hit by one of the Qasam missiles, 82 Palestinians have died, a number that includes an astounding 24 children.
Indeed, throughout the conflict, Israeli casualties have been a third of Palestinian casualties.
In addition, Israeli military capabilities exceed Palestinian capabilities to the point where a comparison is laughable. This is in no small part because of the support of the United States, which began selling weapons to Israel over three decades ago.
It is no surprise that we support Israel when you consider their place in the global scheme, as they are a supporter of Western culture and values in the region, not to mention a key ally to have to ensure oil supplies are not endangered.
This also explains the billions of dollars of aid we send to Israel. In fact, about a third of our entire foreign aid budget goes to Israel, a technologically advanced country with a gross national product that is only slightly less than many European countries.
Our government continues to support and protect Israel though they continue to occupy historic Palestine and refrain from following through with the U.S.-supported road map to peace.
Maybe U.S. soldiers aren’t the ones occupying an already ravaged people in the occupied territories – as they are in Iraq – but U.S. aid has bought the Israeli soldiers’ weapons.
The Israelis and Palestinians deserve to be given more than an honorable mention in the next presidential debate, and the people in the United States deserve to hear how our future leaders plan to reorganize their involvement with Israel after November’s elections.