Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Abbas Gathers Support for Statehood; Perry Panders to Neocons

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is meeting today with international leaders at the United Nations, drumming up support for his bid to get the world body to recognize the state of Palestine.

The controversial move is further isolating Israel at the UN and putting the U.S. in a tough spot, since it supports the pro-democracy uprisings in the Middle East known as the Arab Spring, but the Obama administration will veto any effort at the UN Security Council to unilaterally declare Palestinian statehood.

"We hope the United States will revise its position and be on the side of the majority of nations or countries who want to support the Palestinian right to have self determination and independence," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said at an impromptu press conference after meeting with Venezuela's foreign minister.

Abbas is angered by two decades of talks that have failed to reach a deal leading to Palestinian statehood, especially amid what he believes is further stalling tactics by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.

The Palestinian leader is meeting today with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

In an 11th-hour plea, Netanyahu now says he is ready to get back to serious negotiations to try to head off a vote on statehood, as early as Friday, when Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu also plans to address the UN on Friday.

Conservative GOP presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is seeking to take advantage of the international tensions, meeting with Jewish and Israeli leaders to blame Obama for the Palestinians move to get statehood.

"Simply put, we would not be here today at the precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama Policy in the Middle East wasn’t na├»ve, arrogant, misguided and dangerous," Perry said in prepared remarks released ahead of his speech today.

Despite Obama's firm position that his Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice will veto Palestinian statehood at the UN Security Council, Perry blasted the President for his even-handed treatment of the Israelis and Palestinians.

"It must be said, first, that Israel is our oldest and strongest democratic ally in the Middle East and has been for more than 60 years," Perry said. "The Obama Policy of moral equivalency, which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a dangerous insult."

Perry, who has not addressed foreign policy matters very much on campaign trail, was dismissed by detractors as pandering to neo-conservative Republicans rather than adding anything meaningful to the dialogue.

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