Palestinians disappointed by Obama speech
Published yesterday (updated) 21/09/2011 22:30
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) --
Palestinian officials and analysts were left disappointed by US
President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations on Wednesday,
viewing the speech as a clear indication of
support for Israeli interests.
President Obama rejected
Palestinian plans to seek a UN blessing for statehood and urged a return
to peace talks with Israel (for another sixty
years without achieving anything).
Abu Rudeineh, the Palestinian presidential spokesman, responded to
Obama's speech by saying the Palestinians are ready for negotiations
with Israel as long as it halts illegal settlement building and agrees
to 1967 borders.
Ahmed Yousef, a deputy in the Hamas Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, said that Obama is trying to avoid the UN bid and his
statements offered nothing new.
He told Ma'an that the speech
showed clear bias towards Israel and was an attempt to run away from the
UN bid in an effort to avoid embarrassment for the United States.
There is no use in continuing with negotiations if the US can not
put enough pressure on Israel to stop illegal settlement activity in
East Jerusalem and the West Bank, he added.
Hani al-Masri considered Obama's speech as a clear alignment with the
Israeli position and noted that US-Israeli relations were stronger than
US relations with all Arab countries, especially at a period of upcoming
US elections in 2012.
The Palestinians may demand that the UN
Security Council freeze the vote to provide a chance for negotiations
over a period of 6 months or one year, a move which would save both
Abbas and the US, al-Masri added.
Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies and the Director of the
Middle East Institute at Columbia University, said Obama's speech was an
illustration of why US policy has been such an obstacle to a just,
lasting peace in the Middle East.
"It was predictably depressing to hear the
President laud the new-found freedom of the peoples of South Sudan, Cote
d'Ivoire, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, while telling the Palestinians that
their freedom depended on their jumping through hoops held up by their
Israeli occupiers and their American friends," he said to the
Institute for Middle East Understanding, or IMEU.
Jamil Majdalawi said that US President Obama denied the clear reality
that negotiations have reached a dead end. Obama's call for negotiations
will give Israel an opportunity to change facts on the ground and take
more Palestinian land for settlements, he added.
that Obama's speech should encourage Abbas to continue to head to the UN
Security Council and not to retreat from demanding full UN membership.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO), had earlier told Reuters that there was a gap in the
speech "between praising the struggle of Arab peoples for the sake of
freedom and between an abstract call for negotiations between us and the
Israel and the United States oppose the idea of a
Palestinian UN push, which Israel says is aimed at delegitimizing it.
The Palestinians say it will enable direct peace talks to take place
between two equal, sovereign states.
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