Today is Tisha B’av, a Jewish holiday marked by fasting, solemnity, and mourning; for both the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and the suffering that the Jewish people have endured over the centuries. Apparently, this is also the day that Romney decided he was going to escalate tensions in the region by endorsing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move which angered Palestinians everywhere.
Jerusalem is not considered the capital of Israel by the international community due to the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel. Palestinians are calling for the city’s division into two halves, with the Eastern sector being seen as the Palestinian capital and the Western going to Israel. Israel, however, refuses to acknowledge international mandates and claims Jerusalem to belong in its entirety to Israel.
Romney’s statement was like sandpaper to an unhealed and raw wound for the Palestinians, and served only to endanger peace, stability, and security in Jerusalem — a goal both sides can agree is valid.
“Even if this statement is within the US election campaign, it is unacceptable and we completely reject it. The US election campaign should never be at the expense of the Palestinians.” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP, today.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a member of the far-right Likud party refuses to acknowledge international mandate and insists the Jordan river makes up the permanent Eastern border of Israel. The Likud party also strongly opposes a sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.
Where Obama and Senator Clinton have worked exceedingly hard to end the Palestine-Israel conflicts with compromise, Romney called for America to serve as an “unapologetic ambassador” pushing for the values that Israel and the United States share. Of course, this is just a right-wing dog-whistle code for “Screw those damn Ay-rabs!”
The goal of American foreign policy has never been to terrorize and antagonize groups of people, but to foster peace and unity. Something Romney clearly has no understanding of. No one is disputing Israel’s right to statehood — everyone deserves a home, be they Israeli or Palestinian. Romney does not seem capable of understanding this, choosing instead to foster an “unapologetic” opinion on some moral superiority of Israelis over Palestinians. If this isn’t a sign that Romney is not poorly qualified to run this country, nothing is.