In Preparation for Obama, Bagels and Blood

Today, the day before Sen. Barack Obama’s much publicized visit to Israel, we have seen an odd collection of news from the Holy Land.

First, there was a bulldozer attack in Jerusalem earlier today near the hotel where Obama will stay. There were no Israeli deaths and the attacker, a Palestinian man, was killed by armed people nearby. The attack is similar to another bulldozer attack which took place on July 2 and killed at least three people, according to The New York Times.

At a press conference in nearby Amman, Obama (as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) quickly condemned the attack.

There is less grim news coming from the region before Obama’s arrival, however. There is a Palestinian man who named a bagel after Obama especially for the presumptive Democratic nominee’s visit. It has cherry tomatoes and mint baked inside.

In general, the Palestinians are split on Obama’s visit. Although they are pleased by the fact that Obama is visiting the West Bank, many do not trust any American representative because they feel that the U.S. is slighted towards Israel in negotiations.

Obama’s opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain, did not visit the West Bank on his recent short trip to Israel. He and Obama do not differ in their policies toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as much as they do toward Iraq. However, they do diverge, according to The Christian Science Monitor, in that Obama seeks to be an “honest broker” while McCain “would be more likely to subordinate any peace talks to battling Islamic extremism.”

It’s not for us to say which policy is better. What do you think?

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler



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