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Who’s Naive…the Arabs or Obama? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Following the US President’s historic speech in Cairo, an Israeli official said “Obama is a naive person with good intentions but will collide quickly with the reality and wake up from his rosy dreams.”

According to the “Ma’ariv” newspaper, an Israeli official said: “Obama made identical demands from Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arabs. Israel will try to meet most of his demands.” He added that Israel “is willing to resume negotiations with the Palestinians immediately. But the Arabs will not achieve for him any serious demand and will disappoint him quickly. The Palestinians will once again prove to him that they are not qualified to be Israel’s partner in the peace process. President Abbas is weak and refuses to resume negotiations with us while Hamas is an extremist organization and though Obama did not consider it a terrorist organization it will respond to him negatively and reject his conditions for dealing with it.”

The official suggested to those fearful of Obama’s speech “to have little patience until the picture in the Arab world becomes clearer to Obama and then he can realize the difference between Israel which responds to him with most of his demands and the Arabs who welcome him verbally but actually do nothing.”

These are dangerous and important words. The Israelis acted quickly to absorb the shock while the reaction of Hamas – which Obama avoided calling terrorist, acknowledged it is popular, and said it also has responsibility, which was an important signal to those who understand – was indifferent and without any sense of responsibility.

The strange thing is that some Arabs are saying they are waiting for actions and not words while Obama’s speech was itself the peak of actions. He presented an important breakthrough for the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause when he linked the Palestinians’ suffering to that of Afro-Americans before they got their rights.

This is something that the US newspapers’ editorials did not dare to write about, to say nothing of the other media organs, and an action that neither the Palestinian Authority nor even Hamas and all its rockets can do. Obama’s talk about the Palestinians’ suffering and linking it to the African American civil rights movement has brought the Palestinians’ message to a large number of African Americans who support the dream of their President who represents their patience and struggle until they saw one of their own in the White House.

Therefore and to answer the question in the title we say the naive person is the one who dithers toward Obama’s speech and does not help and support him, especially when he talks about the Palestinians’ right to their state and that the United States will not turn its back on them and talks to the Arabs and Israelis very frankly.

If some Arabs are saying that Obama came to sell us words, then the naïve person is the one who is not even proficient in buying good words, especially as those doubting Obama’s words were the ones who bought [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad’s words in Geneva when he attacked Israel. What happened that day is that Ahmadinejad sold a delusion to some of our Arabs and gained for Israel the international community’s sympathy. Many delegations boycotted his speech while condemnation speeches against Iran are continuing to this day.

Hence, Obama is not naive. The naive person is the one who squanders the historic opportunity that is available today to us for achieving the Palestinian state, liberating the Arab territories, and causing embarrassment for Israel inside the United States and before the international community.