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Palestinian leaders welcome Obama's visit
Published Wednesday 06/02/2013 (updated) 07/02/2013 19:43
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – The Palestinian leadership on Wednesday welcomed US President Barack Obama’s announced plans to visit the region in March.

President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeina told Ma'an that "the visit reflects that the US is willing to achieve peace in the region."

The Palestinian leadership, added Abu Rdeina, hopes the US efforts this time will be decisive and serious. "We wish the US administration will exert pressure on Israel to stop settlement expansion in order to lay the ground for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territory within the borders before June 4, 1967."

He added: "The visit is a positive indicator, but we need deeds and real US pressure on Israel rather than meetings. We need a new US policy."

Abu Rdeina said the Palestinians expected renewed efforts to restart the peace process following a phone call to Abbas on Monday by newly-appointed US secretary of state John Kerry.

Obama will visit the region in March to restart the Middle East peace process, an Israeli television station reported Tuesday. It would be the first visit by Obama since taking office.

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi urged the US leader to be evenhanded toward Israel and Palestine.

"We welcome President Obama's visit, if it signals an American promise to become an honest and impartial peace broker," Ashrawi said in a statement. "The US can play this positive role by engaging in an effective and constructive manner rather than by repeating the same policy of negotiations for their own sake."

Ashrawi said the visit's success would depend on Obama's willingness to confront Israel.

"Such an engagement requires decisive curbs on Israeli violations and unilateral measures, particularly settlement activity and the annexation of Jerusalem, as well as its siege and fragmentation policies," she said.

"Maintaining Israel’s impunity and sense of exceptionalism, while denying the Palestinian people’s rights to sovereignty, freedom and dignity, has been lethal to any meaningful pursuit of a viable and just peace.

"We therefore expect that this visit will rectify the failures of the past, demonstrate a newfound political will, and lead to urgent, substantive and serious action that will bring the Israeli occupation of the State of Palestine to an end."
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1 ) random / ps
07/02/2013 01:15
some comments get deleted ? why

2 ) random / ps
07/02/2013 01:17
why welcome a president that doesnt recognize palestinians right to resist and recognizes occupation as legitamate , funding and passing laws in favor of the occupied

3 ) Rudy / USA
07/02/2013 18:20
I sincerely hope that my government is taking the Palestinian argument seriously. What the Israeli's have been allowed to do in this region is not terribly different from what our government has done to the Native American populations for the last few hundred years. We need to behave as though we believe in our so-called principals. My government needs to stand up for the people being pushed out of their homes and lands... I for one support the Palestinian people and wish you all well.

4 ) Joe Fattal / USA
07/02/2013 20:11
Israel will never return to the 67 borders. Too much money were invested to build the settlements and I doubt Israel will return all these settlements to the Palestinians, and even if Israel agree the US Jewish lobby that financed all these settlements will not agree to a withdrawal to the 67 lines. Its up to the US not Israel. Obama recognizing a Palestinian State or not doesn't depend on him but on the US Jewish lobby. Politics as usual but I am afraid there is no end to it.

5 ) Outlier / USA
08/02/2013 00:10
2,3,4. Lots of politics on all sides. Demand all sides compromise some to negotiate peace, and peace will happen. Set preconditions, and the stalemate will continue for another generation.

6 ) gabi / australia
08/02/2013 01:11
Joe Fattal - how about this? When Israel was accepted as a member of the UN (res. 273) it was conditional upon them abiding by res. 194, which states they were to allow the return of the refugees or pay just compensation. They have repudiated that condition many times. What about if Israel withdraw to the 67 borders, and the settlements are given to the Palestinians as "just compensation." That would be in accord with international law about the illegality of the occupation and settlements.

7 ) JoeFattal / USA
09/02/2013 07:05
@6 gabi/australia I don't how the Israeli government function but I know how my government function especially towards Israel and their strong support to the Jewish State. Your wish might come true and I will support it but the reality on the ground tells me different. We all know Israel's settlements are illegal and they probably know it themselves and the US but who's going to stop them. The US will and they can but they wont. And Israel will continue breaking International laws.
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