Barack Obama's pledge on June 11th to AIPAC that Jerusalem should be Israel's undivided capital has angered Palestinian officials. President Mahmoud Abbas made a statement that Obama's pledge is “totally rejected,” while Saeb Erekat, an Abbas aide, said that Palestinian negotiators would continue to insist upon East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Incidentally, the United States does not currently recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; rather, maps show Tel Aviv, where the U.S. and other embassies are located, as Israel's capital city.
Officials were not the only ones angered by Obama's statement. Palestinian bloggers, living within Palestine and outside of it, were frustrated as well. Dr. Ghassan Michel Rubeiz, writing for Arabisto.com, believes that Obama went too far:
Like the rest of Washingtonâ€™s guest politicians, the senator from Illinois pledged to the rich and powerful audience his unqualified loyalty to the Jewish state.
But Obama went too far in comforting and easing doubts. To demonstrate his loyalty to Israel, he declared that Jerusalem must â€œremain undividedâ€ as the capital of the Jewish State. This position is at variance with the current official US policy, a policy which regards Tel-Aviv, not Jerusalem, as the capital. Washington abides by international law on the status of Jerusalem: the future of the City of Peace must be negotiated by both Arabs and Jews.
Rubeiz then added:
But in the larger scheme of things, Obamaâ€™s Middle East policy is right on track. If elected president, he may be able to revive the currently stagnated Middle East peace process. He is open to talks with Iran, Syria and their partners; to disciplined withdrawal from Iraq and to decisive talks on a two-state solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He then adds that he believes in Obama's uniting abilities:
In this election year both Arab and Jewish Americans would be smart to vote as Americans first. This is not to say that home background issues should be totally overlooked. Obama has the capacity and the desire to bring peace to the Middle East and offer change to America. If they switch their mindset to a win-win paradigm Arabs and Jews may find a mutual friend in Obama.
QuiQui, writing for KabobFest, is angered by Obama's perspective:
Throughout the campaign Obama has been talking as if race has not only ceased to exist in this country but that the white community shares the same concerns, all of which transcend racism. Now he talks as if not only is there nothing wrong with Zionism — he's talking as if Zionism must be defended. That man is gonna be president.
Robin, who often blogs for Palestine, wonders how many voters Obama has lost with his comments:
The question remains, how many voters has he lost with his “right turn”? I ask this because I am still wondering who wrote this speech for him, and did he pre-approve it? That is the lingering question in my mind because like Zunes, I do not believe that things stated in this speech were entirely necessary, in particular his wrong-headed “undivided Jerusalem” statement. Not only did it throw gasoline on an ongoing ending of the occupation/peace process/final status issues which have yet to be resolved for more than forty years, it is also a statement he ultimately felt he had to partially retract due to the not to be unexpected uproar in the Arab world as well as with Jewish voices for peace and many progressives.
Debunk the myths presents an interesting theory on Obama's AIPAC speech:
AIPAC, the powerful “Israeli” lobby and the zionist friendly media have decided that since the black culture is really hip now and black entertainers can really carry a message, then why not use the momentum of your enemy to your advantage – kinda like Aikido. So they figure put a black man president, and we're automatically cool and less mysterious. I mean would Kanye West be able to claim live on TV as he did during Katrina that the government doesn't care about black people. How effective would David Chappelle and Mos Def be when they challenge the institution headed by a black man.
So you see the genius of the plan. Take the cool from the streets and put it in the white house. And so the rebels who at one time were leading the cool movement will be left dumbfounded and scratching their heads going “So is it over, have we won?”
Finally, No Justice No Peace…the Big Picture was very straightforward:
Check out the transcript of Obama's speech to AIPAC. Candidates must talk tough when they address AIPAC. Note that Obama does not discuss Israel's 41-year ILLEGAL occupation or the NUMEROUS UN resolutions Israel has violated or its NUMEROUS contraventions of international law.
I wonder what Ron Paul would say to AIPAC, had he the opportunity to address this lunatic group.
* This article is also posted on Global Voices Online.