For the past seven months, a group of students and young professionals has gathered nightly to phone U.S. voters and urge them to support Barack Obama in the presidential elections.
This would not be at all unusual were it not for the fact that the callers are Palestinians living in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The callers are volunteers who meet in a local Internet café or a room at a youth center equipped with computers they use to make their calls.
The group was organized by Ibrahim Abu Jayyeb, a 23-year-old university student, who told The Media Line he is working on behalf of Obama because he is “the kind of person who when he says ‘I will change America,’ [he] will do what he says.”
He also said: “I believe that Barack Obama will achieve peace in the area, in the Middle East and Palestine, between us, the Palestinian people, and the Jewish people.”
A typical phone call monitored by The Media Line went like this:
Gaza: “Hello, how are you? I hope you are fine.”
U.S.: “How may I help you?”
Gaza: “Give me two minutes. I am here, living in the Gaza Strip, in Palestine. As you know, we live here in a miserable situation and we need peace, necessarily. We are a group making the U.S. people to elect Senator Obama. We think he is a man of peace, so please kindly support us by electing Senator Obama.”
Ibrahim acknowledges that 19 out of every 20 calls are met with an immediate hang-up. But in the past seven months the group has placed 120,000 calls, meaning that between 5,000 and 6,000 Americans have listened to the entreaties.
Sources in the Obama campaign told The Media Line that “no such group has been authorized to solicit on behalf of the campaign.”
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