The Palestinian Authority said it expected nine countries to vote in favor of the statehood application at the United Nations Security Council. On the eve of the review of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s application for full membership in the international organization, Palestinian officials have stepped up their criticism of US President Barack Obama because of his opposition to the move.

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However, PA representatives expressed fear that the US Administration would try to postpone the vote at the Security Council for as long as possible under various pretexts.

The PA also reiterated its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and criticized Spain for doing so in recent days.

PA negotiator Nabil Shaath accused Obama of succumbing to pressure from the “Zionist lobby” in the US.

Shaath claimed that Obama’s opposition to the Palestinian statehood bid was connected to his fear of losing the Jewish vote in next year’s US presidential election.

He said that the Palestinians were not worried at all about US threats to cut off financial aid because of the statehood bid. “We have the Arabs and for sure the Arab countries will replace the [US] aid,” he told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

“Obama prefers to capitulate to pressure from the Zionist lobby but he will lose a lot in the Arab world. The Palestinians won’t pay the price for his re-election. No one could force us to backtrack [from the statehood bid] in order to save Obama the embarrassment.”

Referring to Spain’s decision to recognize Israel’s right to be a Jewish state, the PA official said: “This is an erroneous position that could be the result of pressure on Spain, which is on the eve of elections. As for us, we won’t recognize the Israel as a Jewish state. They want to drive out of Israel 1.5 million Palestinians if such recognition is made. This is impossible.”

Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the Palestinians would face greater challenges in the coming weeks because of continued US support for Israel.

Israel, he added, “is regarded as the 51st US state and enjoys full American support and in the corridors of the UN. This means that the challenge to the Palestinians would be bigger from now on. But this will not dissuade the Palestinian leadership from pursuing its political battle to achieve membership in the UN.”

In yet another sign of strained relations between the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah and the US Administration, the PA’s official newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, launched an unprecedented scathing attack on Obama and his top aides.

Dubbing Obama a “Pariah,” the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Hafez Barghouti, said that the Palestinian issue “won’t continue to be held hostage by a group of Obama’s Zionist advisors.”

Barghouti said that the Americans and others initially thought that Abbbas was joking about the statehood bid. “They thought that we would bow down under Obama’s feet or [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy’s cries or [Quartet envoy] Tony Blair’s arrogance or [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu’s acting,” he said.

The Palestinian editor also condemned US Ambassador to the UN Suzan Rice as “representative of the Jewish lobby at the UN”, and Congress as a Jewish settlement.

Barghouti said that US threats to punish the Palestinians financially did not scare anyone. “They think that the aid they are providing to the Palestinians is a favor or charity,” he added. “But in fact this is a simple compensation for the crimes and disasters that have plagued our people as a result of the US imperialist policy.”

Barghouti and other Palestinian political analysts said that the most important achievement of the statehood bid was that it ended Washington’s “monopoly” over the conflict with Israel and placed it in the hands of the UN.

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“The Palestinian land still hasn’t been liberated, but it has been freed from the grip of the Americans and Israelis,” said analyst Hani Habib. “Now the Palestinian issue is once again under the responsibility of the UN. The Americans and Israelis have become isolated and besieged.”

Habib also accused Obama of seeking to appease the “Zionist lobby” in the US ahead of the presidential election.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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