RAMALLAH: Angry Palestinians today protested in the streets of Ramallah and Gaza after a UN speech by US President Barack Obama which was seen as unashamedly pro-Israel.
More than 1,000 Palestinians carrying signs denouncing Obama gathered outside the West Bank headquarters of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas before marching into the city centre shouting: “It’s shameful for America to support the occupation.”
And in Gaza City, around 300 women held a protest outside the UN headquarters, shouting anti-Obama slogans as Hamas security forces watched them without
Obama’s address to the UN General Assembly, in which he reiterated his opposition to the Palestinian bid for UN membership, and empathised with Israel’s struggle in a hostile region without mentioning the occupation or Jewish settlements, has sparked almost unanimous condemnation across the Palestinian territories.
“America is the head of the snake,” bellowed demonstrators in Ramallah as they held up signs deriding Obama for his address, in which he warned the Palestinians there would be “no shortcuts” to peace. “Shame on those who pretend to be democratic,” read one placard as the throng marched to the city centre, where on Wednesday more than 15,000 people had gathered for a festival of support for the UN membership
The Palestinian workers union said it would call for rallies outside US embassies across the Arab world on Friday.
Commentators, politicians and ordinary people alike said Obama’s speech, which came just two days before Abbas formally requests UN membership for a Palestinian state,
proved Washington was incapable of serving as an impartial broker in matters related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Obama’s speech reflects the American bias towards the Israeli occupation and it proves that the continuing Arab and Palestinian bet on the Americans is wrong,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
“We call for the adoption of a national Palestinian strategy based on self reliance and the Arab and Muslim world in light of this American and Israeli arrogance.”
Commentators in the main Palestinian newspapers all took the same angry and disappointed tone over the US president’s remarks. Similar complaints could be heard on the Palestinian street.
“When Obama came into the White House as president, his positions and aspirations gave us hope,” said Mohammed Zeidan, a school director in Ramallah, who accused the US president of being “fair to every Arab country except the Palestinian people.”
“But Obama showed the whole world yesterday that America cannot be anywhere but by Israel’s side always and he is no different from the American heads of state who came before him.”
(ideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 22.09.2011)