Middle East

Mid-East media critical of Obama UN speech

US President Barack Obama
Image caption Some papers accused Barack Obama of reneging on past pledges

The Middle East media have little sympathy for US President Barack Obama's speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, in which he said that a Palestinian state could be achieved only through talks with Israel, not through a UN vote.

The speech received less attention on the pan-Arab satellite television channels, which focused on Syria, but most press commentators suggest Mr Obama spoke with an eye to the Jewish vote in the next US presidential election.

The prevailing sentiment in the Palestinian press is one of anger and in Israel of resignation at the president's speech, with the exception of one pro-government Israeli paper which gives a conditional welcome to Mr Obama's "warm words".

Other Arab papers accuse Mr Obama of reneging on his past pledges to support Palestinian statehood, and even accuse him of declaring "open war on all Arabs".

HEADLINE IN PALESTINIAN-AUTHORITY OWNED AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

Obama opposes the Palestinian quest and completely endorses the Israeli position - this was worst ever speech by a US president on the Palestinian cause.

ADIL ABD-AL-RAHMAN IN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH

Obama has politically fallen to the lowest ebb. He is no longer respected even if he is leading the US Empire. He also wittingly and unwittingly undermined the US role as the sponsor of the peace process… Obama's interest lies with the Jews, Aipac [Israeli lobby group], and Israeli occupation and aggression.

TALAL AWKAL IN PRO-FATAH PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM

Obama … was wooing the American Jews who have to reward him for his unprecedented loyalty to the Israeli policies and narrative.

DR YUSUF AL-LIDDAWI IN HAMAS-AFFILIATED FILASTIN

The speech completely exposes the US and Western positions on Palestinian state, and their false vows and guarantees. They are not with us but with Israel.

NAHUM BARNEA AND SHIMON SCHIFFER IN ISRAEL'S MASS CIRCULATION YEDIOT AHARONOT

Obama not only adopted the Israeli arguments against recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN, but also adopted the basic Israeli narrative: Israel is a small country, surrounded by enemies… Obama is a politician who wants to be re-elected… Palestine out, the Jewish voters in America in.

NADAV EYAL IN ISRAEL's CENTRIST MA'ARIV

And at the end of the day not much was left. The American line has become the Israeli line and vice versa, but nothing was really clarified: the vote at the Security Council still hangs on the generosity of Gabon and Bosnia. The casting of a US veto against the Palestinian proposal will still be considered a failure of US diplomacy and the Israeli position. The Palestinians can still go to the General Assembly and get a resolution recognising them as an observer state with European support… Yesterday we discovered what we already knew: America is with us, but this is regrettably not everything.

AKIVA ELDAR IN ISRAEL'S LIBERAL HA'ARETZ

To realise the extent to which the lame-duck candidate has regressed from the positions of the new and promising President Obama, the speech should be compared to the one he gave in Cairo in 2009. At that time he pledged "personally to pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires", and said "it is time for all of us to live up to our responsibilities". Yesterday he sent the occupied and the occupier, the strong and the weak, to solve the core issues on their own.

EITAN HABER IN ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARONOT

We saw before us a Barack Obama who seemed to want to send the Israelis, the Palestinians and the rest of the world packing with a juicy curse like: "all of you go to hell!"… a desperate US president.

AVRAHAM BEN-ZVI IN PRO-NETANYAHU YISRAEL HAYOM

The America of September 2011 is sunk deep in the turmoil of the elections when Republican candidates miss no chance to attack the White House for its chilly attitude to Israel… The fact that Congress recently adopted legislation initiatives intended to punish both the Palestinian Authority and the UN for the unilateral move also contributed to the warm words of the US captain toward the Israeli ally… Add to this the fact that the polls point to significant erosion in US Jewish support for Obama… The question is of course whether this current approach will not sink into the abyss of oblivion if Obama wins a renewed mandate in November 2012.

BASIM AL-JISR IN LONDON-BASED AL-SHARQ AL-AWSAT

Why is it that the USA is opposed to a request by the Palestinian Authority to join the UN when the US president himself has recognised a bid for Palestinian state in principle…?! How and why is he delaying the Palestinians' efforts to join the UN?

MUHAMMAD BARAKAT IN EGYPT'S AL-AKHBAR

Obama enters this battle with a total bias towards Israel and with his eyes set on the forthcoming US presidential elections. The elections have now become his primary concern and will remain so during the coming period.

ABD-AL-AL AL-BAQURI IN EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH

Obama came with promises and pledges which Arab ears were yearning to hear… This month betrayal was manifest when Obama asked Palestinians to backtrack and return to negotiations.

AL-SAYYID ZAHRAH IN BAHRAIN'S AKHBAR-AL-KHALEEJ

The speech was Zionist-Israeli par excellence to the extent that he did not leave anything new for the prime minister of the Zionist enemy to add when he speaks at the General Assembly... Obama's speech is an open and direct declaration of that war; a declaration of war not only against the Palestinian people but against all Arabs.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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