Contextual Content

Obama and Palestine

Senator Barack Obama, on his world tour, spent less than an hour in Palestine compared to 32 hours in Israel.
Very few people know the facts on the ground in Palestine as well as Mustafa Barghouti.If you get no sound, click here to watch the video directly from YouTube.

Barghouti, born in Jerusalem and a resident of Ramallah, is a member of Parliament and the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, a democratic, reformist alternative to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
The Real News spoke to Mustafa Barghouti in Washington about Obama’s visit to Israel and Ramallah, and the facts on the ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Story Transcript

Producer: Pepe Escobar

PEPE ESCOBAR, SENIOR ANALYST: Senator Barack Obama, in his world tour, spent less than an hour in Palestine, compared to 32 hours in Israel. Very few people know the facts on the ground in Palestine as well as Mustafa Barghouti. Barghouti, born in Jerusalem and a resident of Ramallah, is a member of Parliament and the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, a democratic, reformist alternative to the Palestinian Authority in Hamas. The Real News spoke to Mustafa Barghouti in Washington about Obama’s visit to Israel and Ramallah and the facts on the ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, PALESTINIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I found it astonishing that he spoke so well about the issue of walls in Berlin, where the wall is gone. He should have said this while he was visiting Israel and Palestine to refer to the wall that we have in Palestine that is three times the length of Berlin Wall and twice as high as Berlin Wall is, and very drastic in its effect on Palestinian population.

JERUSALEM

BARGHOUTI: Although he comes from a background that is probably more sensitive to issues of injustice, he still is afraid to touch the injustice in Palestine. And, of course, he was not fair in terms of distribution of time—as you said, 32 hours versus 45 minutes. He visited [inaudible] but did not have the time to visit any Palestinian community, a village maybe affected by the wall, or a refugee camp, or even a school or a kindergarten.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (D): Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel.

BARGHOUTI: He spoke about Jerusalem being a unified capital of Israel, but he failed to say that it should also be the capital of Palestine. I mean, he could say that it should remain unified—I don’t mind—but the capital of both people. We don’t want walls.

THE ARAB VOTE

BARGHOUTI: I’m ready to be tolerant to what he’s trying to achieve. I know he is worried about a huge machine here called AIPAC, a Jewish, powerful lobby. But I think he’s not paying attention to one very important factor, which is that there is a huge Arab vote here—it’s not as huge, maybe, as Jewish vote—and Muslim vote. And he can get, like, 98 percent of that vote, but he has to be more balanced on the Palestinian issue. I think as a smart politician, he should realize very quickly that the most sensitive, the most emotional, the most important factor for so many people in the so many countries that he has to deal with is the Palestinian issue. And it is also sensitive to the people here. And he also should care about the fact that there is also Jewish progressive vote that wants to see him more courageous on the Palestinian-Israeli issue. And the important thing that I want to say that I’m worried about is I hope he doesn’t think that you can present a program of change everywhere in the world except in Israel and Palestine.

ADVISERS

BARGHOUTI: You could call it change. You need fresh faces, you need fresh attitude, and you need fresh approach. And the last thing he needs is the same people who failed in the past.

Watch Part Two

Palestine: The facts on the ground

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.