Posted by: noticeable | June 5, 2009

Ma’an: Hamas and the Palestinian Authority react to Obama’s speech

Words, “promises” (were there any, really?) and rhetoric.  Short on specifics, Barack’s address did little to assure the victims of Israeli expansion that there would be significant US policy shift as he called the Israeli and American bond “unbreakable.”  This description in the aftermath of the bloodbath that was the heavily criticized Gaza invasion.  Then, in today’s NY Times, Barack states that “the moment is now” to press for a resolution and that it was up to Israelis and Palestinians to make “difficult compromises.”  Such statements by the the President only abdicate US responsibility in providing the logistics and infrastructure necessary for the occupation to continue and ignore the existence of the “fateful triangle.” 

Hamas and PA reaction to Obama

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority said it considered US President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo “a new and different American beginning and a new message to the Israelis,” while Hamas said the remarks contained a number of good points. 

PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in a statement that “President Obama’s readiness for partnership, listening, building confidence and confronting tension” ought to be celebrated, and applauded the US leader’s remarks on Palestinian suffering. 

He added that “the time has come to establish a Palestinian state,” which he called “the first basic step necessary to build a just and comprehensive peace in the region.”

Abu Rudeinah went on to say that “President Obama’s speech is encouraging beginnings that should be built on and we will be ready to go forward with the peace process in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the national rights of the Palestinians, based on justice and equality.”

Meanwhile, the Hamas movement hesitantly described Obama’s speech as a refreshing change, although “full of contradictions.” Regardless, the movement welcomed the speech, calling it complimentary and playing on emotions, as well as focused on diplomacy above threats. 

Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum said that the speech was focused on “improving America’s image in front of the whole world, yet it was full of contradictions, lacked policies and practical steps on the ground to curb the [Israeli] assaults and to support the Palestinian right of sovereignty on their land, end settlement and their suffering under the occupation.”

He added that “Obama mentioned the popular support for Hamas but did not talk about lifting its isolation and respecting its legitimacy,” adding that “he confused the facts when he described Hamas’ defense of the Palestinians as violence, while he did not talk about the real Holocaust and war crimes that the Israeli army carried out in front of the whole world.” 

Barhoum noted that Obama’s “repeated demands for Hamas to recognize Israel and the conditions of the Quartet would be legitimizing the occupation, giving it a cover to continue with its criminal policies against the Palestinians.” “Recognizing the conditions of the Quartet means approving the righteousness of the policy of collective punishment, which the US imposed on the Palestinians as a penalty for their democratic choice.”

He noted that “Obama’s demand for the Arabs to normalize ties with Israel and to assist it is a frank call to reward the occupation for its crimes.” 

Regarding Obama’s remarks on Jerusalem being a holy city for three faiths, Barhoum said, “Jerusalem needs an American stand to stop Israeli policies against it; recognizing the illegitimacy of the settlements [in East Jerusalem] is a good thing but he needs to actually end settlement there.”

The Hamas official concluded by saying, “We noticed that in his speech Obama ignored the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homelands, even though it is a legitimate right recognized under international law.”

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Responses

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