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Palestinian Authority Angry at ‘Pro-Israel’ Obama

Obama did not “reach out to Muslims” or the PA in his AIPAC speech. Erekat: It is part of Obama’s election campaign.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/5/2012, 2:09 PM

Hamas leader Mashaal and PA's Abbas in Cairo
Hamas leader Mashaal and PA's Abbas in Cairo
Reuters

The Palestinian Authority is unhappy with what it called President Barack Obama’s “unprecedented pro-Israel” speech to American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Sunday night and is preparing to officially shelve the “peace process,” which by most accounts already is dead and buried.

In sharp contrast to President Obama’s tongue-lashing last year of a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, he didn’t mention the issue in his speech and barely talked about the Palestinian Authority, with its first reference being negative: “The division within the Palestinian leadership makes it harder still [to achieve peace] –  most notably, with Hamas's continued rejection of Israel's very right to exist.”

His second reference was reiteration of American policy “to press Arab leaders to reach out to Israel, and will continue to support the peace treaty with Egypt. That's why — just as we encourage Israel to be resolute in the pursuit of peace — we have continued to insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel's right to exist and reject violence and adhere to existing agreements.”

Anticipating PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ intentions to make another try at recognition by the United Nations, President Obama stated, “My administration has consistently rejected any efforts to short-cut negotiations or impose an agreement on the parties.”

"This speech is part of Obama’s election campaign," PLO leader and PA negotiator Saeb Erekat told the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency. "Unfortunately, the speech ignored the requirements for peace as it did not touch on urging Israel to accept the two-state solution, halt settlement activities, and stop imposing facts on the ground."

Abbas is not expected to remain silent. He said last week that he will issue a “surprising” statement this week, and his officials said Saturday they will give Israel one more chance to accept its conditions for talks on establishing the Palestinian Authority as a country within Israel’s current borders, or shelve the already moribund “peace process.”

Even the Quartet has stopped, at least publicly, from encouraging more talks between Israel and the PA. Jordan hosted both sides for five meetings earlier this year. One Israeli official said that the only thing that was agreed on was to set another date for talks, but even that fell through after the fifth round. A sixth session is not in the cards.

The Palestinian Authority is continuing with its strategy of giving up on the West and banking on pro-Arab countries in the international community, along with veiled threats.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the PA will write a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and “inform the world of the details of the content of this letter ... to understand the (Palestinian) leadership, in case it is forced to take any measures to protect the Palestinian rights.”

He did not spell out what measures he meant.

Frustration with Abbas among Arabs in Judea and Samaria has been increasingly evident. He faces opposition within his ranks as well as increasing terror against Israel. The First Intifada tactic of lethal rock-throwing has become a daily routine that mainstream media have largely ignored.

In another sign of escalating terror, security forces in the Samaria community of Elon Moreh and the IDF foiled an attempted terrorist attack with knives Monday morning.