Earlier today, US President Barack Obama addressed the UN. And dare I say it, it was his most pro-Israel speech to a predominantly non-Jewish audience – including the Arab world.
Sure, it is by no means perfect. But in all fairness, he did come out against any “shortcuts” to peace (i.e. a unilaterial declaration on the part of the palestinians), mentioned peace can only come about through compromise of the parties, reaffirmed America’s commitment to Israel’s security, emphasized the security concerns Israel faces every day, acknowledged Israel’s neighbors have waged wars against us and continue to threaten to wipe us off the map, and mentioned Israel as the “historical homeland” of the Jewish people. In other words, he rectified much of what was wrong with his infamous May speech to the State Department.
Obama’s speech this time was not the only improvement. In a Press Conference with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the speech, the body language between the two leader seemed warmer, albeit slightly.
Perhaps this time around, Netanyahu will be invited to dinner.
Update: Another reason to be content with the speech.
Palestinian officials from various factions voiced criticism of US President Barack Obama for his UN General Assembly address, and accused him of “adopting Israel’s stance” to win over the Jewish vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, said that the movement expected Obama to show support for the Palestinian cause, and asserted that the US president’s statements on the freedom of the Arab people were far removed from his call to resume negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel.
Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki told Palestinian television following Obama’s speech that “The time has come for us to stop differentiating between Israel and the US, because they are committing the same crime.
“The Americans slaughtered the Indians there, so wouldn’t they be capable of slaughter here? The world is a small global village, and it is changing,” he added.
Senior Hamas official in Gaza Ahmed Yousef dismissed the president’s positions as nothing new. He said that the peace talks are doomed due to the US’ inability to pressure Israel to stop settlement construction.
“Obama’s statements are pro-Israeli, and are considered an evasion of the Palestinian UN bid,” Yousef said. “The US has proved that it is not an honest broker in the Palestinian issue.”
Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri noted that “Obama adopted Israel’s stance in his speech. This is the US’ permanent position, as its ties with Israel are stronger than its ties with the Arabs.”
Masri suggested that Obama is taking Israel’s side in the conflict to ensure that he gets the Jewish vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
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