Election related news continue to be made in the Middle East weeks after the Barack Obama visited the region. The office of the Palestinian president released, Wednesday, a copy of the peace poster that Abbas presented to Obama. The peace poster based on the Arab peace initiative states that 57 Arab and Muslim countries will establish "full diplomatic and normal relations with Israel in return for comprehensive peace agreement and end of occupation." The text of the peace plan quotes the full resolution of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic states.
In an interview with the London based independent Arabic daily Al Hayat, Abbas said that when he showed the poster to Obama, the presidential nominee reacted by saying that the Israelis "would be crazy to reject this offer." After the one hour meeting with the Palestinian president Obama went on to spend a total of 36 hours with Israeli officials and visiting locations of their choosing. The presumptive Democratic nominee didn't repeat what he had said to Abbas to his Israeli hosts.
In a related event, a leader of the tiny Christian Palestinian community in Jerusalem sent an angry complaint to Barak Obama for his failure to visit Christian holy sites during his most recent visit. Naim Tarazi, an Arab Orthodox community leader complained to Jim Zogby president of the Arab American Institute and one of Obama's Arab American advisors. In the complaint Tarazi reportedly asked Zogby to pass the following message to Obama. "People say your father was Muslim, and you insist you are Christian but why is it that when you visited the Holy city of Jerusalem you only stopped by the Western Wall and the Holocust memorial?"
Ironically Tarazi brother, the late Zuhdi Tarazi was indirectly responsible for the firing by Jimmy Carter of Andrew Young the first African American UN ambassador. Carter was pressed by the pro Israel Jewish lobby to let Young go after Young met at the private home of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the UN with Mr. Zuhdi Tarazi the head of the PLO mission to the UN.
Local and regional observers as well as some US analysts have expressed surprise at the one sidedness of the Obama visit to the region, with some calling his pro Israeli drooling nothing short of an overkill.
The Arab press which had initially warmed up to Obama has been taken aback ever since the first African American nominee of a major American party made his overzealous pro Israel speech at the AIPAC conference last June in which he supported a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Ironically, last week Shimon Peres, the Israeli president had to revisit the issue after press reports indicated that he seemed to have conceded that the city of Jerusalem might need to be divided. Palestinians have consistently called for the eastern section of Jerusalem which was occupied in June 1967 to be part of the Palestinian state. Israel had unilaterally extended Israeli law to the Arab side of the city. No country in the world, including the US has recognized Israel's decision towards East Jerusalem.
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