President Barack Obama may have won a Nobel Peace Prize, but he’s also been awarded a vote of no confidence as a peacemaker by Fatah. An internal party memo obtained by the Associated Press reads: “All hopes placed in the new U.S. administration and President Obama have evaporated. Obama couldn’t withstand the pressure of the Zionist lobby, which led to a retreat from his previous positions on halting settlement construction and defining an agenda for the negotiations and peace.” Originally heartened by his election, Palestinians now see Obama as a sequel to George W. Bush, particularly after the new president acquiesced to the reality of continued Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The big question is whether this memo reflects Palestinian Authority President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas’s view (Abbas has previously been sanguine about the status quo, citing dramatic economic and security gains in the West Bank as reason enough not to pursue a peace deal with the Israelis as quickly as the United States and Europe would like), or if it reflects the views of Fatah’s Office of Mobilization and Organization, which issued the memo. Now that Abbas has come out against advancing the Goldstone Report—the U.N. Human Rights Council investigation that accused the IDF of war crimes in Gaza—to the Security Council, Palestinians could also argue that Abbas has similarly “caved” to White House pressure.