Gazans See No Hope in Obama

The fever of joy and optimism may be sweeping the world, but for Leila Khalil, Barack Obama’s landmark inauguration on Tuesday, January 20, falls absolutely flat.

"Obama won’t bring my husband back to life," the Gazan woman, whose husband was killed during Israel’s bloody offensive on the Palestinian territory, told Agence France Presse (AFP).

Across the bombed-out coastal enclave, people hold little hope that Obama, who took the oath as America’s 44th president, will appease their sufferings after a brutal three-week Israeli blitz.

Khalil, who lost her husband when Israeli bombs fell on a school in north Gaza, says the new American leader will not bring her back what she has lost.

"He was martyred and left me with six children to feed on my own," Khalil, 42, said of her late husband.

"Obama won’t repair our house that was damaged in the raids."

She is not alone.

"No American president will compensate us for our losses from the war nor resuscitate the martyrs nor heal the amputated nor rebuild the homes that have been restored," fumes Samih Zouhdi, 53.

For Umm Mohammad, Obama’s inheritance of the Oval Office from the unpopular George W. Bush brings no hope for her traumatized children.

"Neither Bush nor Obama will make us forget the fear and the homelessness with which we have lived."

At least 1,300 Palestinians, including 410 children, have been killed during Israel’s air, sea and ground attacks on Gaza.

The onslaught has turned the impoverished Strip, home to 1.6 people, into piles of rubble and clouds of smoke, forcing more than 200,000 people to flee their homes.

Pro-Israel US

Khalil al-Attar, a civil servant, believes Obama will never alter the historically pro-Israel US policy.

"He will act according to the interests of the people who elected him," said the 30-year-old.

"These interests coincide with those of Israel…As for the Palestinians, they have always been the scapegoats."

Eyeing the Jewish votes, Obama has frequently voiced support for Israel during his presidential campaign.

He has told the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC) lobby that Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) must remain the "undivided" capital of Israel.

He later swallowed the remark after coming under fire.

Obama has since pledged that his administration will engage on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from day one.

But Zouhdi, who works in a bank, does not believe Obama’s words will be ever translated into actions.

"Politics understands only the language of interest and we do not represent an interest for the United States."

Khalil, the widowed Gaza mother, agrees.

"If we can’t even count on Arab presidents, what can we hope for from an American president when they’ve always supported Israel?

"No one cares about us."

( and Agencies)

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