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Obama: A bankrupt speech | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The simplest way to describe Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations is that it was a bankrupt speech, laden with contradictions easy for the average observer, let alone a political specialist, to clearly identify, whether about the Arab situation or the Palestinian cause.

While President Obama paid tribute to the awakening Arab street, he also stressed the importance of the security of Israel. This is strange, for if Obama recognizes that the Arabs are yearning for freedom and democracy, and declares that his country is standing with them, i.e. the Arabs calling for freedom, then how can Obama denounce the Palestinians demanding their own state through the United Nations? Why is freedom deemed to be an entitlement for all Arabs and Israelis, whilst it is denied to the Palestinians? This is not right!

Obama, and likewise Netanyahu, both say that peace cannot be achieved through the United Nations, but rather through negotiations. This is a strange thing to say, for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have been ongoing for decades; years of our lives, our security and our future. Negotiations have failed, so what is the solution? Do the Palestinians have to undertake a further rounds of talks, enduring failure after failure? This is absurd, yet this is what Obama is advocating, despite the fact that negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis have failed repeatedly under US sponsorship. It is suffice here to recall that Obama himself could not persuade, or even force, the Israeli Prime Minister to halt settlement construction, so what is the solution? Do you grant Palestinian statehood rights to President Mahmoud Abbas, or does he have to behave like the Iranian-sponsored Hassan Nasrallah, or Khalid Mishal, or Osama bin Laden? It is natural that Abbas would go to legitimate institutions in order to invoke his right, and thus the United Nations is the appropriate location. This is what Abbas did, and he did it well.

The US President’s problem is that he did not realize his latest speech to the United Nations was contradictory. It has placed him in genuine trouble, for a number of reasons, among them the fact that Obama praised the Arabs without doing justice to the Palestinians. Obama should be aware by now that Netanyahu is a man who cannot be trusted, and cannot be a man of peace. Another predicament for Obama is Hamas’s stance regarding the recognition of the Palestinian state. Hamas, like Israel, refuses to [go to the United Nations] to demand recognition for a Palestinian state. It wants to prolong the struggle in order to find itself some solid ground, for Khalid Mishal and his colleagues cannot live in a world without disputes. The other predicament which has befallen Obama is that it has become clear to the Arabs that he is not capable of producing peace, and that he cannot abide by what he said to the Arabs when he spoke to them in Cairo, at the beginning of his term in office.

There is also an essential point that has been overlooked by everyone, and that is that Israel itself was declared as a state through the United Nations partition resolution, so why can the Palestinians not go to the United Nations today?

Therefore, Obama’s speech was bankrupt, whilst what Abbas did was something both logical and desired. If Washington uses its veto, Obama will have stabbed a dagger into the Arabs at the peak of their momentum, demanding the overthrow of dictators such as Gaddafi and al-Assad.