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Israels, Palestinians Watch US Election Results with Mixed Emotions


Both Israelis and Palestinians have been watching the U.S. presidential race with interest, and the major newspapers have given the election front-page coverage. Feelings about potential results come as no surprise. One Israeli, who gives his name only as Yakov, expresses the views of many Israelis who clearly like George Bush.

He says Israel's interest is to have someone who supports us, who recognizes us, knows what our problems are and George Bush has proved that he knows. The Bush administration has been seen as a close friend of Israel - in fact Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has repeatedly said that relations between the two countries have never been closer. But, that has not pleased all Israelis. One man, who identified himself as Gideon, says he is against George Bush.

"I am not a great admirer of his policy either in the Middle East or in Israel," said Gideon. "I am not too happy about the kind of support he gives to the Sharon policy. I think it would be better for Israel to get less support and I think America should be more critical about the Israeli kind of policy."

Other Israelis have said it does not much matter who wins the U.S. election. They believe either candidate will support Israel. And that appears to be how most Palestinians see the election as well. Hussein Zitawi in the West Bank city of Ramallah agrees.

Mr. Zitawi says Palestinians see no great difference with either George Bush or John Kerry in the White House. He says he, like most Palestinians and most Arabs, views the United States as heavily biased towards Israel, and they expect that policy to continue.

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