- Apr 1, 2008
- South of the Haggis Munching Line
Hamas hits out at Obama
04/06/2008 21:36 - (SA)
Gaza City - The Islamist Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip slammed a speech by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying it confirmed US "hostility" to Arabs and Muslims.
"We consider the statements of Obama to be further evidence of the hostility of the American administration to Arabs and Muslims," Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
In the speech delivered to a powerful US-Israel lobby group in Washington, Obama reaffirmed his support for Israel and said Jerusalem should remain Israel's "undivided" capital.
Palestinians, including moderate president Mahmoud Abbas, have demanded that east Jerusalem - occupied and annexed by Israel in the 1967 war - be the capital of their promised future state.
The international community, including the United States, has never recognised Israel's claim over the whole city and virtually every country in the world has its embassy in the seaside city of Tel Aviv.
Obama did however say he would push for a negotiated settlement to the decades-old conflict if he is elected to the White House in November.
Abu Zuhri said Obama's statements on Jerusalem "confirm the consensus of the two American political parties on unlimited aid to the (Israeli) occupation at the expense of Palestinians and Arabs".
The speech, he said, "destroys any hope for change in American policies toward the Arab-Israeli conflict".
Obama also reiterated that he will not negotiate with Hamas - which won parliamentary elections in 2006 and seized total power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007 - until it recognises Israel and renounces violence.
"We must isolate Hamas unless and until they renounce terrorism, recognise Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements. There is no room at the negotiating table for terrorist organisations."
In May Obama's Republican opponent John McCain said Hamas would welcome an Obama presidency, charges the Democratic candidate denied as "offensive" and "disappointing".
Facing criticism, Obama modifies Jerusalem stance
June 5, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama amended his support for Israel's stance on Jerusalem on Thursday, saying Palestinians and Israelis had to negotiate the future of the holy city.
Palestinian leaders reacted with anger and dismay on Wednesday to Obama saying Jerusalem should be Israel's undivided capital.
"Well, obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations," Obama told CNN when asked whether Palestinians had no future claim to the city.
Asked if he opposed any division of Jerusalem, Obama said: "As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute. And I think that it is smart for us to -- to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city."
In Washington on Wednesday, Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group, that if elected president in November, he would work for peace with a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," he told the lobby group.
The United States and other powers do not regard Jerusalem as Israel's capital -- the U.S. and other embassies are in Tel Aviv -- and do not recognize Israel's annexation of Arab East Jerusalem following its capture in the 1967 Middle East war.
The outgoing U.S. president, George W. Bush, has sponsored peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the hope of securing a deal on a Palestinian state before he leaves office in January.
One of the thorniest issues is resolving the rival Israeli and Palestinian demands on the future of Jerusalem.
As a Brit I have the luxury of impartiality.
There's a time to talk and a time to shut up - its a hard leason to learn especially when you're a young prospective Presidental Candidate riding high! However, I think that Obama's inexperience in the wider field of Politics and International Relations is going to be a problem unless he learns fast as shown above. The USA holds some key positions in Geopolitical policy descisions and alliances in the Middle East and if not careful Obama will cause problems with his allies or their enemies. He needs to learn to keep his own council until he has hired some experienced advisers to tell him what to say and when.
Electioneering is over, he's playing with the big boys now and I hope for your sakes he's up to it!