The following two videos, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), show two reactions by Palestinian Authority officials to President Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week. The speech was perceived as very pro-Israel and anti-Arab, because Obama called for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and referred to Israel as the “historic homeland” of the Jewish people.
The first video is from an interview on PA TV with Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub, who refers to Obama’s speech as "idiotic":
“[The speech] did not even reflect the U.S. policy or the doctrine they employed in the past,” Rajoub says during the interview. “It sounded like a speech of a student leader in a university rather than the speech of a leader of a superpower.”
“The Palestinian people number approximately 18 million, over 55% of whom live in the diaspora, in refugee camps, in conditions that I believe necessitate a stand on the part of the U.S. administration,” adds Rajoub.
He also says that “Obama’s refusal to acknowledge the UN resolutions constitutes a blow to his policy and will sabotage any future American role in resolving the conflict.”
The second video is an appearance on Al-Arabiya TV by Sa’id Erekat, former Spokesman of the UN delegation to Iraq:
Erekat compares this UN speech to the speech Obama gave last year and in which he said, “Next year we will witness an independent Palestinian state,” and says that “we see a major regression.”
“We heard him using, for the first time, the discourse of the past used by Israel’s supporters in Washington, according to which Israel is a tiny state of eight million, surrounded by many hostile countries which lie in wait for it and there are those who call for its destruction,” he says. “We have not heard such a speech for a long time, especially since President Obama assumed his present position.”
Erekat says that Obama’s speech has “disappointed the Palestinians” and says the speech was self-contradictory.
“He talks about a new state in South Sudan and says that the UN should strive to achieve peace everywhere. But when he talked about the Palestinian issue he said that it had to be resolved through negotiations, although he knows full well that he tried to broker these negotiations and that they stalled over the wall of Israeli refusal and over Netanyahu’s refusal, who continued with the settlements and even sped up the settlement activities.”
Erekat fails to mention the ten month freeze on construction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria that the Netanyahu government imposed and which the PA chose to ignore rather than renew negotiations.