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Obama…Welcome to the Middle East | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In a few days, US President Obama will be the guest of the Middle East. He comes to the region clearly welcomed on the official and popular levels. He will come representing a “different” America just as he comes to a definitely “different” Arab world. America is different on the official level. He personally has a state of mind, ideas, and an approach different from that of his predecessor. Bush is now being classified as the worst President in American history due to his arrogance and recklessness in dealing with events and in his naïve simplification of political events. He turned the whole world against him for one reason or another because it does not see things the way he did.

The Obama Administration is not like the Bush Administration. It is a more realistic, more humane, and more deeply and accurately knowledgeable about what is happening in the world. Barack Obama himself succeeded in reading his country well and began to make his selections for the senior Administration posts and launch his political legislations. He realized that the US voter has veered toward the left and become more liberal as he steered away from the convulsive right that was the major characteristic and feature of the Bush era and of his neo-conservative cronies. This gave Obama the self-confidence required to give his decisions and the important weight and impetus. And he is coming to a different Arab world. He is coming to an Arab world where Israel, its occupation of Arab lands, and its constant violation of international laws, agreements, and charters are the biggest problem and the most important calamity. Moreover, the total US inclination on the side of Israel in this dilemma has directly affected the Arab impression (generally positive) of the United States. Obama has forcefully called for the immediate cessation of the satanic settlement construction in the occupied lands that Israel is perpetrating. He called for a two-state solution – a Palestinian state and an Israeli state – but this was rudely and arrogantly rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Foreign Minister Lieberman. There is nothing new to tell Obama about the Palestinian-Arab-Israeli affairs. The ball is in Israel’s court and no one can put pressure on them except the American master. The same issues are known to every US President that visited the region before. Proposals were made and followed one another from the step-by-step policies to Rogers Plan to Camp David to the Wye Agreement to the Road Map. They all failed because they were not fair and not binding on Israel.

Israel is openly shuffling the cards in order to gain more in the negotiations with the United States and the Arabs. It is involving Iran and the curbing of its nuclear program as an essential condition “prior” to the negotiations. We all hope that this kind of heresy would not be allowed to turn in any shape or form into a serious proposal because it is an integral part of Israel’s political insolence that has become the main feature of its approach. Yes, Iran is upsetting and a cause for worry due to its political meddling in the region. However, Iran is definitely not Israel and the cards should not be shuffled and confused in this manner. Israel remains the most dangerous country: It has the rogue nuclear arsenal and it disregards and destroys international resolutions. Israel reneges on agreements and pledges, occupies the lands of others, and is the only country registered in the United States without official borders.

Mr. Obama, you are most welcome among us. Our problem is in the “improbable” and “unfair” situation of Israel. This is an issue that needs to be changed, particularly since you won your presidential election campaign calling for change.