Obama Silence On Gaza–Is It Wise Policy?

Under the United States Constitution, George Bush is president of the United States until newly elected Barack Obama takes the oath of office. During the past few days, many people in the Muslim world have wondered if the silence of Obama concerning Israel bombing in Gaza is evidence the new president will take the same attitude as did Bush in supporting Israel in every possible way. Al-Jazeera, recently broadcast footage of Obama on his holiday in Hawaii together with scenes of death and destruction in Gaza caused by the Israel bombing. Its report sharply criticized the “deafening silence from the Obama team.” Many Muslims point out that Obama was openly sharply critical of attacks by Muslim fanatics in Mumbai, but he now uses the argument “there is only one president” and his name is Bush.

The reality in America is finding a solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict does not rank high on the list of of what must be done in the coming days. Most Americans obtain their information about the Middle East from TV stations that are pro-Israel, and, most probably, lack sophisticated experts on their staff to explain anger on the part of Palestinians about the bombing.

Obama is most probably correct in not getting involved in the Gaza bombings and destruction. However, from day one of his administration, there must be evidence he will fight to equity in solving the conflict and will respect the aspirations of each side. He was once a community organizer and should understand that in any conflict each side must given in on certain of its positions in order to attain a compromise. He must also engage in dialogue with Hamas as he does with all concerned in the conflict.