Thursday, June 07, 2012

Did Obama say that Abbas may not want peace?

Yesterday, in YNet, it was reported that in a meeting with Jewish leaders, President Obama said that he feared that the Palestinian Authority was no longer interested in advancing the peace process with Israel.

The article has since been changed and it no longer says that, even though the headline yesterday was "Obama: Abbas may not want peace":

The new article says "US President Barack Obama told Orthodox Jewish leaders on Tuesday that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority may be too politically weak to deliver a peace agreement and that he fears that the window of opportunity for a deal is closing."

There is a bit of a difference between not wanting peace and being too weak to achieve peace.

The Times of Israel confirms YNet's original account:
He said peace was critical as the Arab democracy movement swept the region, but worried that the Palestinian leadership was no longer as interested in advancing toward peace.
Arab media were upset over the report, and Palestine Press Agency reports today that, according to PA resident liar in chief Saeb Erekat, The White House denied the statement:
Negotiations Affairs Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization leader Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday that the White House provided clarification on the remarks of President Barack Obama, about the commitment of President Mahmoud Abbas to the peace process, which stated 'that what was attributed to President Obama was disgraceful, and President Obama did not question the intentions of President Abbas and his commitment to the peace process'.

President Obama re-confirmed his commitment to continue to make every possible effort to push the peace process forward.
There is no such clarification on the White House website.

On the other hand, I can see some of the Jewish leaders misquoting or misunderstanding the president in an off-the-record meeting.

The fact that Abbas and the Palestinian Arab leadership are not interested in peace is not in doubt, as I have documented countless times. It would be very interesting if President Obama realized this and stated it, though. Not the same as doing it publicly - which is what is really necessary - but interesting nonetheless.