Obama Supports Israel, Angers Fatah and Hamas

Democratic candidate said at the AIPAC convention Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel. PA-Fatah and Hamas were quick to condemn.

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Gil Ronen and Hillel Fendel , | updated: 10:55 PM

Barack Obama.
Barack Obama.

US Presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking at the AIPAC convention in Washington Wednesday, said that Jerusalem must remain undivided.

 

"Jerusalem must remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama said, to the rousing applause of the AIPAC audience. He also said that any agreement Israel makes with the "Palestinian Authority" must retain Israel's character as a Jewish state – thus appearing to side with the Israeli position on not allowing Arab refugees from 1948 into Israel.

Obama said that he would never compromise on Israel's security. He noted that the Bush policy in Iraq – which he characterized as "war at the expense of diplomacy" – has weakened the security of both Israel and the U.S., because in the past two years Iran has increased its threats against Israel and its nuclear capabilities.

"I will do everything in my power – everything – to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon," Obama said.

'We are very disappointed'
Fatah-PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas was quick to react to Obama's statements. In a televised speech, he said that he rejected Obama's statement completely. "The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem
The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was captured in 1967 and we will not agree to a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital."
was captured in 1967 and we will not agree to a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital," he said.

Abbas also called for "a national dialogue in order to completely implement the Yemenite Initiative, with the aim of ending the internal division that hurts our nation and our struggle in Gaza."

Saeb Erikat, advisor to Abbas, said Wednesday that Barack Obama had "shut all of the doors on achieving peace."

He said the Arabs would continue to demand eastern Jerusalem in the negotiations with Israel. "We are very disappointed," Erikat said. "Obama failed to understand that without east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, no peace will be achieved with Israel."

Hamas: Obama, McCain are the same
Hamas's leadership in Gaza also voiced anger with Obama's statements.
"Obama's statement proved once and for all that there will be no change in the United States' policy."

"Obama's statement proved once and for all that there will be no change in the United States' policy about the Israeli-Arab conflict," spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhari said. "Hamas does not differentiate between the two candidates for presidency, Obama and John McCain, because their policies are no different," he said. 

Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Taher Nunu, voiced pleasure with the statement by Mahmoud Abbas in which he called for renewed dialogue between the two groups.

"We welcome the call for renewed talks and see it as a positive step on the road to reconciliation," he said.

While some anti-Obama pro-Israel bloggers have admitted that Obama did call for a unified Jerusalem, they point out that he did specify in his vision whether Jerusalem would be under Israeli or Arab sovereignty.



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