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Palestinians condemn Obama hypocrisy

Political demonstrators rallying near the residence of President Mahmoud Abbas have slammed the American president over his promise to veto the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition.

­Dozens of protesters have gathered outside Mahmoud Abbas’s office in the Palestinian city of Ramallah on Thursday, Israeli daily Haaretz reports.

Many waved anti-Obama slogans, among which there was a banner reading “Obama the Hypocrite” and another claiming that the US president is siding “with killers against victims,” according to the paper.

The newspaper cited Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper as saying that on Friday activists in different Arab countries are due to protest Obama’s opposition to Palestinian’s bid for statehood.

In Tel Aviv, a group of Israeli intellectuals has also taken out to the streets to support the Palestinians, RT correspondent Paula Slier reports.

According to Slier, university professors, writers and members of parliament are protesting outside the Museum of Independence, which is symbolic, as it was the venue where, back in 1948, Israel announced its state of independence.

The group is calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recognize the Palestinian state and for both countries to coexist peacefully.

“At this juncture we believe that if Israel takes the active part and initiates and thinks outside of the box a bit and recognizes Palestine, the first country to recognize Palestine could be Israel and what a change that would be!”

one of the rally organizers, Tal Harris of OneVoice Movement, told RT.

Dr. Mukhaimer Abu Saada, political science professor at Gaza-based al-Azhar University points out that the Palestinians have long been trying to negotiate directly with Israel, but with no progress. Quite the opposite, the Palestinians continue to lose their lands to Israeli settlements.

“The Palestinians have been negotiating with the Israelis for 20 years now, for God’s sake, since the convening of the Madrid Peace Conference in October 1991 and the Oslo Agreement was signed in September 1993. It’s more than 18 years since the signing of the Oslo Agreement and we haven’t seen an end to the Israeli occupation,”

the political scientist told RT.

“What we see is expanding of Israeli settlements, expanding of the numbers of Israeli settlers. From 200,000 in 1993, now the number is 600,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

It is the time for the international community to intervene, Abu Saada added.

“It’s a very frustrating situation, and I don’t know how much [longer] the Palestinian people can wait for the international community to intervene and put an end to this Israeli aggression and occupation,”

he said.

Yesterday, Barack Obama made an attempt to convince the Palestinian president to drop the bid for statehood and not to take it to the UN Security Council – but failed.

As a result, President Barack Obama has personally sworn to veto any UN resolution recognizing a free and independent Palestinian state.

His comments came during a face-to-face meeting with the leader of the Palestinian Authority, who nevertheless vowed to press ahead with his country's bid on Friday.

The American president had been hoping that Mahmoud Abbas would only approach the UN General Assembly, thus making a symbolic step, but the latter opted for addressing the UN Security Council directly. Abbas said he is going ahead to the UN Security Council despite the criticism from the American president.

Obama once again voiced the same position as Israeli authorities, that there should be negotiations first and only after the negotiations and peace talks on the table can there be any kind of discussion of some sort of Palestinian state being declared.

The point of the Palestinian leader, widely discussed on the Palestinian territories is that two decades of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis have yielded nothing.

That is why the Palestinian leader, despite being under the greatest imaginable pressure, is expected to approach the UN Security Council on Friday, September 23.

Still, he will not be pushing the Security Council to vote tomorrow and this has already been criticized by some Palestinians, who would like to see the vote as soon as possible.

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also said that the UN should accept the Palestinian bid.

Tel-Aviv is outright hostile to the Palestinian move. One of the things Israeli authorities are afraid of is that Palestinians, once they have membership in the UN, will have access to the International Criminal Court. Such access will allow Palestinians take Israelis to court over disputes over land and the way they have been treated by Israeli authorities. In other words, over the whole issue of occupation.

It is known that eight out of the 15 members of the UN Security Council have indicated that they are prepared to vote in favor of the Palestinian state.

China, Brazil, India, Russia as well as South Africa – in other words the BRICS countries – have all declared their preparedness to vote for Palestinian statehood. Russia and China are permanent members of the council, while the others are coincidentally all non-permanent members this year.

So it seems that if the future declaration of a Palestinian state by-and-large has the support of the international community – at this stage the Americans will have to step out to use their right of veto to block the Palestinian bid.

People within the Palestinian Autonomy have been taking to the streets for two days now, anticipating the event which most of them have been waiting for all their lives.

Right now Palestinians are gathering near the place where the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is buried in Ramallah. They will continue to rally until tomorrow, when the bid is put forward in the UN.

Palestinians feel euphoric and believe the very important moment they have been waiting for has nearly come and they prepare to celebrate it in all Palestinian cities.

Orthodox Jews in New York, Paris and London have also shown their support for the bid.

The Israeli army is on high alert and has pulled into the West Bank. They are particularly concerned that right wing Israeli extremists among settlers will use the Palestinian independence bid as a pretext to provoke violence.

The settlers maintain that under no circumstances will they ever recognize the Palestinian state. There have already been reports of settlers intentionally provoking Palestinians.

According to British Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick, the stalling of recognition of the Palestinian state by the US could cause violence to flare up on the West Bank.

”What nobody wants to see is any further violence, but if I was in the Palestinian territories and I saw that there was a possibility of progress and then that was frustrated that would cause me great despair and I could understand why that frustration could lead to tempers being lost and the temperature being raised,” he said. 

”We want to see progress being made in the peace accords. We want to see Israel making concessions. We want to see both sides saying no to violence. We want to see President Obama pushing this further along the world agenda, at the United Nations, at every possible opportunity,” added Fitzpatrick.