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PA Turns Tables on Obama, Uses His Speech to Back UN Bid

The Palestinian Authority turns the tables on Obama, using an old speech to support its campaign for the UN recognition that he opposes.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/7/2011, 2:23 PM

Obama and Abbas
Obama and Abbas
PLO Site

The Palestinian Authority has turned the tables on President Barack Obama, using an old speech to support its campaign for the United Nations recognition that he opposes.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his aides have launched an all-out media and diplomatic assault ahead of this month’s scheduled Arab League request to the United Nations that it declare the PA an independent state based on its unilateral demands.

President Obama has been adamant that Abbas reach his goal through the American-sponsored “peace process” that calls for direct talks with Israel.

However, the president, in his usual smooth and convincing oratory, told the U.N. General Assembly last year, "When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel.”

A PA radio commercial states, "If he said it, he must have meant it.”

“The ad is a reflection of Palestinian frustration with the Obama administration,” Reuters reported Wednesday.  

Though the U.S. president's remarks were hedged, Abbas has described the statement as the "Obama promise."

The president’s remarks were taken out of context, but the campaign is bound to rub salt in the wounds of American Jews who voted for President Obama based on his promises not to divide Jerusalem, bind the Palestinian Authority to former agreements and halt incitement, and not enforce an agreement on Israel.

The commercial ignores Abbas’ refusal to uphold his pledge to sit down with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu if he were to freeze building for Jews in Judea and Samaria. After the freeze was implemented two years ago, Abbas argued that it was not extensive enough because it did not include all parts of Jerusalem that the PA claims as part of its hoped-for state.

Despite Abbas’ promoting himself in Western media as opposing terrorist attacks, the new PA campaign also includes comments by Yasser Arafat, whom Abbas replaced after his death.

"We are reminding (Obama) of what he said in the United Nations in 2010,"  Ahmad Zaki El-Areedi, director of PA’s official Voice of Palestine radio told Reuters.

Besides the media blitz and a globe-trotting tour to win backing for UN recognition, Abbas is promoting a “flying seat” campaign that includes peaceful rallies, including one in New York.

Pro-Israel groups are planning a massive rally in New York September 20 to protest the Arab initiative to the United Nations.