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Obama and the Palestinian question

Opinion - n°0, June 2009
by Álvaro de Vasconcelos
Young guests prior to the speech of US President Barack Obama at Cairo University, 4 June 2009.©Ben Curtis/AP/SIPA

The speech of President Obama in Cairo has placed the Palestinian question at the top of the American priorities, and so, of international politics. After years of an American foreign policy in the Middle East dominated by the security of Israel and the fight against terrorism, seen as one and the same thing, this is as essential shift. Moreover, this is a precondition for a road to peace in the Middle East.

President Obama is the first American President in office to recognise that the key issue in the Middle East conflict is the suffering of the Palestinian people that ‘have endured the pain of dislocation’ and ‘the daily humiliations… that come with occupation’, a situation that is, in his view, ‘intolerable’.

As the American president puts it, the goal of all relevant actors, Palestinians and Israelis alike, should be to back ‘the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and the state of their own’. To achieve this, he has defined a number of priorities and modalities of action...

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Obama and the Palestinian question

Opinion - n°0, June 2009
by Álvaro de Vasconcelos