Palestinians Disappointed with Obama

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian officials were disappointed with President Obama's "unprecedented support" for Israel during his remarks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference earlier this week.

"We couldn't believe the U.S. president is out there to prove he is good for Israel -- that for three years he has done everything Israel wanted," PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said. "In many ways, people saw that as demeaning."

Ashrawi accused Obama of "undermining America's role in the Middle East by avoiding the issue of Israel's military occupation of Palestine," the Palestinian Authority's Ma'an News Agency reported.

"President Obama's statements are not only disappointing, but also lack a vision for the future of peace," Ashwari said. She also accused Israel of "destroying" the concept of a two-state solution.

Ashrawi said the PLO is preparing a detailed summary of its efforts to negotiate a settlement with Israel over the past several decades, which would be P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas' "final effort to renew the peace process."

If Israel fails to respond, the PLO will reconsider its security arrangements with Israel, among other things, she said.

Senior P.A. official Mustafa Barghouti warned against "ending the occupation and apartheid system that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is trying to consolidate," Ma'an reported.

Barghouti said Obama should be "pressing the whole region, including Israel, to be a nuclear-free zone."

Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity -- neither confirming nor denying its nuclear capabilities -- as a deterrent against surrounding Arab countries that have threatened its destruction.

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