U.S. Arabs: Obama Blames Israeli Govt, U.S. Congress for Lack of Peace Progress
Arab Americans who met with Obama said he blamed the Israeli government for refusing to make concessions, blamed the U.S. congress for providing cover to the Israeli government, and he planned to bring an additional $500 million in aid for the PA.
Published: March 13th, 2013
Most reports about the meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and several representatives of various Arab American organizations which took place on Monday, March 11, have been fairly sketchy.
But at least some participants at that meeting provided three rather startling revelations to an Arabic news source.
First, they said the U.S. president blamed the stalled peace process on the Israeli government for refusing to offer concessions, and second, that he blamed the U.S. congress for providing cover to the Israelis whenever the president tries to apply pressure on the Jewish State. The implication the sources came away with was that Obama said he will get around those problems when he is in Israel by bypassing the Israeli government and going directly to the Israeli people.
The third surprising revelation from the meeting was that President Obama plans to hand over half a billion dollars in additional aid to the PA during his visit.
As with Obama’s meeting with representatives of Jewish organizations a week ago, his get together with Arab and Muslim leaders was not part of the president’s public schedule, and participants had been asked not to comment about the confidential conversations which took place.
Most reports about the meeting merely mentioned the names of some of the participating organizations, which included the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Task Force for Palestine, the Arab American Institute, the Arab Federation of Ramallah, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
As was also the case with the Jewish representatives’ meeting, there were some Arab American participants who discussed some details of the meetings, a few with attribution and others on condition of anonymity. Several sources at each meeting told members of the media that the president told their group that he was not going to attempt to kickstart a new Arab-Israeli peace initiative.
But one story in an important Arab media outlet quoted participants as having provided a reason for the U.S. president’s unwillingness to push a peace initiative during this trip. That anonymous Arab and/or Muslim participant told Al Arabiya.net reporters that Obama said to the group: “since the Israeli government has not been willing to make concessions, there is no point in pushing [for negotiations] right now.”
In addition, the U.S. president expressed solidarity with the plight of the Arab Palestinians. “‘The only people more frustrated than me,’” Obama was quoted by a source as saying, are the ‘”Palestinians living in West Bank and Gaza – it’s a legitimate frustration,’” Al Arabiya‘s source said.