Obama Speech on the Arab Spring

The Obama speech today… in three words… “some significant statements;” in two words… “double standard;” and in a word… “disappointing.”

It was gratifying to listen to Obama’s eloquence in displaying “universal rights” that must be enjoyed by all, including Arab masses.  The hope was that he would declare his belief that those wonderful principles of equal humanity and universal rights also apply to the Palestinians, but his words fell short of that threshold.

On the question of Palestine, the most significant statement Obama made was when he was describing his vision of resolving the conflict through the establishment of two states; Israel and Palestine.  Obama said that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”  However, the lack of demand from Israel to comply and the watering down of the principle by injecting words like “with mutually agreed swaps” negatively impact the credibility of his entire statement.  Those words “with mutually agreed swaps” open the door wide open for the same experience of the last twenty years of endless, fruitless negotiations while the brutal occupation continues.

It was disgusting to see and hear Obama’s obvious attempt to appease the Zionist lobby with his boring display of unqualified, unconditional, and blind support for Israel, even as he attempted to imply his displeasure of continued Israeli settlement building and occupation.  At the same time, Obama demanded that the Palestinians must satisfy Israeli concerns; including that the Palestinian state be demilitarized and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

It was hypocritical of Obama to state great principles and at the same time fail to say that those principles apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians.  One striking example:  Hamas is a Palestinian political party that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist as much as Yisrael Beitieno (the party of Israeli minister of foreign affairs Avigdor Lieberman) is an Israeli political party that advocates the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and transferring them to Jordan.  Obama did not demand from Yisrael Beitieno to recognize Palestinian’s entitlement to equal universal human rights, but he demanded from Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist.  In other words, it seems acceptable to Obama for Yisrael Beitieno to be part of Israel’s ruling coalition, but it is not acceptable for Hamas to be part of a national reconciliation agreement among Palestinian political parties.

This speech will be rated in history books as inconsequential.  Its empty rhetoric will go nowhere; more specifically, it will fail to advance the cause of peace in Palestine because it neglects the two elements that make peace sustainable; justice and equal humanity for all Israelis and all Palestinians.  However, this speech might serve as Obama’s offering of his credentials to the Zionist lobby in order that the lobby might support – or at least not vigorously oppose – his bid for a second term in the 2012 presidential elections.

Monzer Zimmo
Ottawa,Canada
2011/05/19

Hope is the stuff from which life is made!

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About Alcanaanite

Monzer Zimmo, a Palestinian-Canadian living and working in Ottawa, Canada. Monzer is an advocate of resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the peaceful creation of a bi-national-democratic state on all the territory of historic Palestine, where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others live together as equal citizens; be and feel safe, secure, and at home.
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3 Responses to Obama Speech on the Arab Spring

  1. Christopher Assad says:

    Obama (the U.S.) has absolutely no stomach for justice for the Palestinians, at least not in the forseeable future. This is a fact that I do not give a second thought; it is a total waste of time to do so.

    Further, on democratic change/reform in the Arab region. The U.S. is worried that if it does not ride the wave, through words only of course, it will lose whatever friends, and the little credibility it has in the region. Again, and for the exact same reasons the U.S. provides lip service to Palestinian peaceful quest for statehood, the U.S wants to maintain an interlocutor status in order to help the counter-revolution underway in the Arab region. His words about democracy are the exact same as Bush’s. Freedom and democracy equals occupation and hegemony.

  2. This is how, with our own hands, we turned the problem of the occupation into an issue for the entire Western world, and the Palestinians into the West’s proteges: Faced with an occupying power that is simultaneously unresponsive and self-righteous, the West feels moral and political responsibility for the Palestinians’ fate, just as in the past, Western public opinion felt deep sympathy for the Jewish state. This feeling of responsibility has increased in recent years, after it became clear that the Israeli right has no intention of responding to Palestinian demands for freedom and independence. Under the guise of security considerations and the war on terror hides the real, ideological reason: In the right’s view, recognizing the equal national rights of the Palestinians means forgoing exclusive Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel. From the point of view of members of the Israeli rejectionist front, recognizing the equality of Jewish and Arab rights on both sides of the Green Line is tantamount to betraying Jewish history. But since the number of people who are still prepared to buy an argument of this kind is diminishing worldwide, Israel is on a collision course with all our allies and supporters. And at the end of this road, it is liable to become a pariah state.”

  3. Christopher Assad says:

    Monzer, I liked your analysis very much.

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