by Khaled Abu Toameh
If anyone is to be held responsible for the Palestinian Authority leadership's decision to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, it is US President Barack Obama and his Middle East advisors.
When and if violence erupts in the Palestinian territories after the UN vote later this month, it will be the direct result of Obama's failed Middle East policy, which is likely to see a dramatic rise in anti-American sentiments not only among the Palestinians, but also throughout the Arab and Islamic world.
Through their statements over the past three years, the Americans gave the Palestinian Authority and many Arabs the impression that Washington is in favor of a Palestinian state at all costs.
The Obama Administration had also initially given the Palestinians the impression that the US was "on our side," and would force Israel to accept all their demands, first and foremost a complete withdrawal to the pre-June, 1967 lines and the re-division of Jerusalem.
Palestinian leaders in Ramallah say that Obama has misled them twice in the past few years: first, when he gave them the impression that the US would support a Palestinian state even if it is not achieved through negotiations and, second, when he dropped his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction.
Obama is now being condemned by Palestinian Authority officials for being "biased in favor of Israel" and succumbing to the "powerful Jewish lobby" in the US.
The Palestinian Authority has reached a stage where it prefers to embark on a collision course with Obama than abandon its statehood plan.
In his meeting this week with US envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reminded them that his decision to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state was in accordance with "promises" made by Obama – who is not trying to stop the statehood bid.
The Palestinian Authority is even using a speech by Obama to the UN General Assembly last year in which he voiced support for the establishment of a Palestinian state before the end of this year.
In the speech, which is now being used as part of a media campaign, broadcast on Palestine radio to drum up support for the statehood initiative, Obama says: "When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel."
At the end of the radio spot, Abbas states, quite sarcastically: "If he [Obama] said it, he must have meant it."
Abbas's aides say that the media campaign is intended to expose Obama's "lies" and "hypocrisy."
Many Palestinians are now planning anti-US demonstrations when and if Washington uses the veto to foil the statehood bid at the UN Security Council. The Palestinian Authority, which relies heavily on US funding, is also taking part in the campaign of incitement against the US.
"The same Obama who promised us a state by the end of 2011 is now threatening to veto it at the UN and impose financial sanctions on the Palestinian Authority," said one aide. "Instead of supporting our move at the UN and exerting pressure on Israel to change its policies, Obama is sending us his envoys in an attempt to thwart the creation of a Palestinian state."
Khaled Abu Toameh
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