Arabs optimistic on Obama, but 'still waiting' for action

US president has made "a good beginning," Arab League spokesman says.

By BRENDA GAZZAR
May 6, 2009 01:09
2 minute read.
Arabs optimistic on Obama, but 'still waiting' for action

arab league 224.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Arab League is pleased with what it has seen so far from the new US administration vis-á-vis the peace process, but is "still waiting for [President Barack] Obama to deliver," an Arab League spokesman said on Tuesday. "We think Obama is different than the former [American] administration so far," Abdel Aleem al-Abiyad told reporters in Cairo. "He made, in our opinion, a good beginning by declaring that he would be engaged in trying to effect peace between Arabs and Israelis. He sent [Middle East envoy] George Mitchell to the area." But he said that the 22-nation Arab organization was still waiting for Obama to make good on his pledges, particularly since "Arabs have a very good initiative" on the table. The 2002 Arab peace initiative "should [lay] the groundwork for real peace between Palestinians and Israelis," as well as between Israel and the rest of the Arab world, he said. Concerning US Vice President Joe Biden's remarks on Tuesday that "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution" and "stop building settlements," Abiyad called them positive, saying that this was what the Arab League had been asking all along. Also Tuesday, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa rejected as "unacceptable" Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's remarks about pursuing a political, security and economic track toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu said he supported engaging in negotiations without preconditions and did not make mention of a two-state solution. King Abdullah of Jordan, on behalf of the Arab League, recently delivered a message to Obama that "Arabs are ready for peace" on the basis of the Arab initiative, Abiyad said. Meanwhile, the Arab League is holding a special meeting on Thursday between its secretary-general and Arab foreign ministers to discuss the issue of Jerusalem, including "demolitions and settlement expansion," he said. The purpose of the meeting "is to shed light on what Israel is doing to change the geographic and demographic situation in Jerusalem" in violation of international resolutions, he said. The Arab League issued a statement on Tuesday arguing that the Arab perspective and regional interests should be taken into consideration in any Iranian-American dialogue. Moussa has long advocated that the Arab League take a "collective approach" in engaging in dialogue with Iran, but Abiyad acknowledged that so far, that had not happened. He declined to state why, though experts said that the divided Arab world was not interested in taking such an approach. "I don't think Amr Moussa's position reflects the attitude of the mainstream Arab countries," said Gamal Abdel Gawad, head of the international relations unit at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "I don't think Arab governments think it is the right time to do that with Iran." In addition, many Arab states are waiting to see what develops between the United States and Iran before engaging in such actions themselves, he said.

Related Content

A general view shows the town of Khorog, Tajikistan
August 16, 2018
Young couple trying to prove human kindness killed by ISIS

By JULIANE HELMHOLD