No, I’m not getting involved in Palestinian politics!
Today I completed my absentee ballot and emailed it back to the County Clerk in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA. I think I can safely say that I’m the only American voting from Gaza this year and so I want to send an open letter to President Obama, whom I hope is reelected in November.
Dear President Obama,
Thanks to the wizardry of the internet and email, I just completed my US absentee ballot in Gaza City and emailed it back to the county clerk in New Mexico. This is certainly a small world. I’m confident that my ballot will be counted and that my effort to vote for you will make a difference.
Speaking frankly, many of your decisions and actions over the past four years have greatly disappointed me. On climate change, I expected you to act much more aggressively to curb CO2 emissions. I thought you understood how dangerously close we (“the world”) are to passing some tipping points and irretrievably pushing our only home (Planet Earth) into a uninhabitable condition for future generations.
I was arrested with many others in front of the White House last August to show you that the Keystone XL Pipeline proposed from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf must be stopped in its tracks.
Climatologist James Hansen says it’s “game over” if the CO2 emissions from those tar sands are released, but the pipeline construction is underway in Texas.
What must I, and others, do to convince you that your Administration’s top issue after reelection must be sharply focused on climate change? There will be no second chance or “do-over.” The time is now or never. Since you’re a father of two beautiful girls, please look at them and think about the world you want to leave them. And then invite Al Gore to the White House and listen to him very carefully.
The second issue that requires your undivided attention is Palestine. Early in your first term I had some hope when I heard your Cairo speech, but your actions have not been consistent with the new thinking that I thought you represented for the Middle East.
Palestine needs support from the international community (including the US) in its effort t0 throw off the yoke of Occupation. Israel needs a real friend, not a sycophant in the White House and Congress. A real friend would help Israel move beyond its role as Occupier and see the realities on the ground in the Middle East. There will be no security or peace for Israel until there is peace and security and justice for all.
All of those U.S. vetoes at the Security Council, in the face of support from the vast majority of the world’s nations, are unconscionable. And giving Israel over $3 billion each year to entrench that country’s violations of human rights and international law is inexcusable. The U.S. has the power and the leverage to support justice for the Palestinians, and we must act consistently with our values. After your reelection, please invite President Jimmy Carter to the White House and listen to him!
We all live together on Planet Earth and we need to remember the Golden Rule — treat your neighbor as you would want them to treat you. President Obama, please provide the leadership that I know you have in your heart.