UNITED NATIONS (JWN) – Members of the Palestinian Authority delegation to the UN General Assembly expressed disappointment at what they termed US President Barack Obama’s support for Israel at the Palestinians’ expense.
They expressed determination to proceed with submitting their application for Palestinian statehood to the United Nations, despite Obama’s warning that the US would veto it.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), told Reuters there was “a gap between praising the struggle of Arab peoples for the sake of freedom and between an abstract call for negotiations between us and the Israelis.”
“We expected to hear that the freedom of the Palestinian people was key for the Arab Spring,” he said. “Freedom should cover the [entire] region.”
This sentiment was echoed by Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the PLO delegation in Washington. “Listening to [Obama], you would think it was the Palestinians who occupy Israel,” she told Haaretz.
“He presented a double standard when he disassociated the Arabs’ fight for their freedom in the region from the Palestinian freedom fighters, who deal with the occupation for 63 years… what we heard is precisely why we are going to the UN.”
It should be noted that Ashrawi referred to the “occupation” as dating from 1948, in other words from the creation of the State of Israel. This reflects a popular view among Palestinian extremists, who refuse to accept Israel’s existence as the Jewish state.
The West Bank was in fact occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, while the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt for a similar period. The Palestinian freedom fighters Ashrawi refers to never fought the Jordanian or Egyptian occupations.