Barack Obama Faces Chilly Reception From Palestinians After Backslapping in Israel

President Accused of Dropping Ball on Statehood Dream

Cool Reception: Palestinians, unhappy over Barack Obama’s failure to push Israel to make peace concessions, gave the president a chilly reception when he visited the West Bank.
getty images
Cool Reception: Palestinians, unhappy over Barack Obama’s failure to push Israel to make peace concessions, gave the president a chilly reception when he visited the West Bank.

By Reuters

Published March 20, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

After an effusive welcome in Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama travelled to the occupied West Bank on Thursday for talks with Palestinian leaders who accuse him of sidelining their dream of statehood.

Obama flew by helicopter to the Palestinian government headquarters in Ramallah, where disillusioned Palestinians held out little hope that their moment in the U.S. presidential spotlight would help revive a long-dormant peace process.

Some 150 Palestinian demonstrators gathered in Ramallah to protest against Obama’s visit. They were held back by mass ranks of police who prevented them from nearing President Mahmoud Abbas’s compound, where the aircraft landed.

A smiling Obama, accompanied by Abbas, was met by mostly stern-faced Palestinian officials along a red carpet - a stark contrast to the broad grins and backslapping during an elaborate welcoming ceremony on Wednesday at Tel Aviv airport.

Obama has made clear he is not bringing any new peace initiatives but instead has come to Israel and the Palestinian Territories on a “listening” tour.

As a reminder of the ever-present risks in the region, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into Sderot, a southern Israeli town that Obama visited as a presidential candidate in 2008. Police said no one was hurt.

There were no claim of responsibility, and Obama is not going to visit Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist group Hamas, a rival to the Western-backed Abbas, who condemned the attack.

Obama held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and toured the Israel Museum with him on Thursday, viewing the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls - underscoring the Jewish link to the Holy Land - and a high-tech exhibit.

The main focus of his initial discussions with Netanyahu appeared to be pressing regional concerns, primarily Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the civil war in neighbouring Syria, and winning the hearts of a sceptical Israeli public.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.