Do the Palestinians view the US as a neutral party?
No. The United States has repeatedly cited its "special relationship" with Israel, described it as a "strategic ally," and provided Israel with vitally important diplomatic support. For example, the U.S. has exercised its veto power in the United Nations Security Council 41 times to protect Israel from censure - half of the U.S. vetoes cast since the birth of the UN.
Palestinians have noted these facts. They are also well aware of the level of military and economic aid the U.S. provides Israel each year. They have also directly experienced U.S. favoritism for Israel during the Camp David negotiations in 2000. (Read more about Camp David <a href="http://imeu.net/news/article0057.shtml">here</a>.)
Since 2004, President Bush and senior administrative officials have also pledged support for Israel's retention of major Israeli settlements in the West Bank - adopting Israeli positions and pre-empting final status negotiations.
Accordingly, Palestinians do not view the U.S. government as an even-handed broker in their conflict with Israel. Rather, they see the U.S. government exactly as American diplomats have described it: a close ally of Israel.
Photo: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (left) meets with U.S. President George W. Bush (right) during a visit to Washington. (Maan Images)