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Obama and the Palestinian Question | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Palestinian official has described the meeting by Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, and his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazin) on last week as very ordinary, adding that Obama did not bring any new ideas but emerged from the meeting happy.

The source, which asked to remain unidentified, told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The man came to listen and was not the bearer of ideas. In any case, he has nothing to offer and he came here to look for what could help his election campaign against Republican candidate John McCain.”

The source added that, “Obama told President Abu-Mazin that he came to listen and understand. What he said was no more than just words but he promised to continue the peace process if he won the election.” Obama promised Abu-Mazin that he would play the constructive partner’s role in the peace process and would not allow a single minute to be lost after being installed president of the United States in backing the peace process and would not go back to square one. Obama hoped to be the messenger heralding peace between Israel and the Palestinians and promised to play this role. Obama did not make any statements to the correspondents and confined himself to meeting the Palestinian president and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

According to the source, Obama’s promises to Israel were much better than what he told the Palestinians, among them “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.” He visited the Nazi holocaust museum and Sderot town which came under the Palestinian resistance rockets and concluded the visit by visiting the Wailing Wall and meeting representatives of the entire Israeli political spectrum, from the right and the left. Against this, Obama stayed only one hour and some minutes at the presidency and met only Abu-Mazin. According to the source, Abu-Mazins pent most of the time explaining to Obama the situations in the Palestinian territories and touched on the issue of the separation fence and the damages it is causing to the Palestinian people’s interests as it takes large tracts of Palestinian agricultural lands. He also talked about the settlements and the damages they are causing to the peace process and underlined the impossibility of continuing the peace process while the settlement activities and expansions continue, stressing that everything would collapse if no active measures were taken and warned of the consequences. He also briefed him on the Arab peace initiative, explained the history of the cause, and informed him of the Palestinian demands. It is recalled that Abu-Mazin’s meeting with Obama at the presidency in Ramallah did not end with a joint statement or a press conference as is the norm.