(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah on Saturday with
US Consul-General in Jerusalem Daniel Rubenstein to discuss US President Barack
Obama’s latest Middle East speech.
The meeting came as PA negotiator
Nabil Sha’ath announced that the PA leadership would pursue efforts to ask the
United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the basis of the
1967 lines in spite of Obama’s opposition to such a move.
Abbas calls emergency meeting over Obama address
For the Arab world, Obama didn’t go far enough
A PA official
in Ramallah refused to give details about the meeting between Abbas and
Abbas has instructed PA officials to refrain from commenting
directly on Obama’s speech pending an emergency meeting of the Palestinian
leadership and consultations with a number of Arab leaders.
official spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s position toward Obama’s address showed that the Israeli government
was not interested in making peace.
Abu Rudaineh also dismissed US and
Israeli opposition to the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation accord between Fatah
and Hamas, saying this was an internal Palestinian affair.
Ramallah said the PA leadership was “deeply disappointed” with Obama’s
opposition to the PA bid to unilaterally seek recognition of a state in
The PA leadership is also worried about Obama’s apparent
opposition to the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation pact.
“Although the speech
of President Obama included many positive elements as far as the Palestinians
were concerned, there are also many negative points,” the sources told The
“There’s also a lot of disappointment with Obama because
he did not mention Jerusalem or call for an end to settlement
Despite Abbas’s ban, Sha’ath was quoted over the weekend
as saying that Netanyahu’s rejection of Obama’s address strengthened Palestinian
resolve to step up efforts to seek UN recognition.
“We will pursue and
escalate our diplomatic efforts to achieve recognition of a state and we won’t
stop,” he stressed. “President Obama did not say that he was going to use the
veto against us.
Nor did he say that he would vote against us [at the
Sha’ath said that Netanyahu’s statements in Washington proved that
he has no intention to reach a solution.
“Netanyahu wants to keep
military presence in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, annex
settlement blocs and Jerusalem and does not want the refugees to return,”
Sha’ath said. “Then he says, ‘Let’s talk about peace.’ What peace does he want?”
He said the most positive element in Obama’s speech was his talk about a
Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with land swaps. “But Netanyahu has
destroyed everything with his statements,” he charged.
rejected American and Israeli opposition to the formation of a unity government
between Fatah and Hamas, saying no one has the right to interfere in the
Palestinians’ internal affairs.
PLO Executive Committee member Saeb
Erekat said Abbas was planning to visit Jordan and other Arab countries for
consultations with Arab leaders on the repercussions of Obama’s
He said that following the tour Abbas would convene an emergency
meeting of PLO and Fatah leaders to discuss the PA’s future steps in wake of
Obama’s speech and Netanyahu’s position.
Also Saturday, Abbas received a
letter from Egypt’s ruling military council concerning the latest developments
in light of Obama’s speech. The letter was delivered to Abbas by the Egyptian
envoy to Ramallah, Yasser Othman.
PA newspaper editors and political
analysts, meanwhile, launched a scathing attack on Obama.
Barghouti, editor of the Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda daily, said that Obama was no
different from Arab dictators.
“He’s talking as if he’s God and above
everyone,” Barghouti said. “It’s as if he has appointed himself as father of the
revolutions against tyrants.”
Barghouti added that Obama did not bring
anything new in his speech about a Palestinian state.
Instead, Obama has
inherited the policy of his predecessor, George W. Bush and former Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, who was more serious than Hillary Clinton, he
“Obama has endorsed Israel’s position regarding the peace talks,”