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November 8, 2016 2:13 pm

Palestinians Call US Election ‘Choice Between Stupid and Evil,’ as Arab World Dismisses Presidential Powers, Attacks American Foreign Policy

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton denounced the Tel Aviv terrorist attack. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Photos: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

The presidential election underway in the United States is a contest between “evil and stupid, [and] and you can choose which is which,” a Palestinian Authority spokesman based in Ramallah told the news site BuzzFeed on Monday.

This sentiment was echoed in one form or another by an official from Hamas, the terrorist organization ruling the Gaza Strip, and media outlets across the Muslim-Arab world.

“We do not see any difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to dealing with the Palestinian issue,” Yihya Musa, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Parliament, told BuzzFeed News. “So whether [Donald] Trump wins or Hillary [Clinton]…both parties [back] Israel and its policies against the Palestinians.”

According to the Washington, DC-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the Arab press holds a similarly cynical view of the candidates in particular and the United States in general.

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The Arab world digital news and opinion website, MEMRI reported on Tuesday, stated in an editorial last week that,

While no public opinion polls [have been conducted] in the Arab world regarding the US presidential election, the responses of Arabs to the race give the initial impression that a large portion of them prefer a Trump victory. However, this is not due to their love of [Trump] or hatred of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Rather, it is because they have no sympathy for the US and would like to see Obama replaced by a president who will lead it to collapse and disintegration…

The editorial continued:

Republican nominee Donald Trump, who is portrayed as a racist populist, has based the agenda of his campaign on hostility towards Muslims and on the building of a wall on the Mexican border to stem the flow of immigrants…

It seems that Miss Clinton is even more hostile to Arabs and Muslims than Trump, and many believe she will continue the policy adopted by President Obama during his two terms…

The Jewish lobby staunchly backs Clinton, throws its full financial and political weight behind her, and utilizes its media outlets to support her out of the belief that she supports its interests, namely Israel’s military and political superiority… It is sad that Arabs, who suffer the most from American policy…have become the “punching bag” at which the presidential candidates direct the full force of their aggressive punches.

An editorial in the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, according to MEMRIstated: “Clinton is likely to be more empathetic to our problems than Trump will be, but this does not necessarily mean that she is on our side any more [than he is]. This is because US foreign policy is not based on a president’s personal initiatives, but on complex long-term considerations that are implemented in stages without deviation from what was set out [in the beginning]. Therefore, the US president has little room to maneuver, and he can make no decisions on his own…”

In an op-ed in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Hayat, editor-in-chief Ghassan Charbel wrote,

…Today, Middle Eastern countries feel the absence of the role that the US used to play — never mind that they complained about it at the time. The US has withdrawn unprecedentedly from [from the Middle East]. Russia receives legitimacy for its military bases on Syrian soil, and attacks oppositionists before it attacks terrorists. The [Russian] warships gather, signs of [coming] wrath, and Emperor [Putin] bathes in the blood and warm waters [of the Mediterranean]…

There is no sign that the American policeman is returning to the Middle East. If she wins, Hillary Clinton might slightly slow the withdrawal, but if Trump wins, there will be more of a global problem than a Middle East problem. The US is the US, even if its halo and its greed to run the world are on the wane…

In an op-ed in the London-based daily Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, aligned with the Qatari regime, editor Houssam Kanafani wrote,

…regardless of which [president] resides in the White House, American policy is not subject to change on the whims of this or that person…However, this does not mean that Trump’s arrival at the White House would be the same as Clinton’s. It is certain that the insanity of the Republican candidate will impact American presidential conduct, especially on the domestic level, and particularly with regard to the economy. This is because candidate [Trump’s] background is that of a businessman who sees politics through the prism of profits, and this will shape what changes Trump can implement, especially in policies regarding social services, oil, and other things that could affect economic relations with [U.S.] allies, but not the alliances themselves. The same goes for Clinton, who will follow in Obama’s footsteps on these matters…

With regard to the Arab countries, especially those that are burning like Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, no one expects a substantial change in American policy, whether Trump or Clinton [wins]…

Comments from the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world come in response to arguments among US pundits over which of the two presidential candidates are most favorable in the eyes of Middle Easterners. They also come on the heels of claims on the part of the Clinton campaign that Russia was behind the hacking of the former secretary of state’s server, with the goal of securing a Trump victory.

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