A new president’s first phone calls to heads of state is one of great symbolism. The world watches as the new American president lets everyone know what his priorities will be. Today President Obama made his first phone calls. His very first one? It went to Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah. We know this not from American newspapers, but from a UK newspaper. I have a feeling this will be a pattern we’ll see a lot in the coming years: (emphasis mine)
President Obama placed the Middle East at the forefront of his first hours in office yesterday as he sought to make good on his promise of “ushering in a new era of peace”.
In a flurry of telephone calls from the Oval Office, he reached out to leaders in the region and vowed to engage immediately in pursuit of a permanent Arab-Israeli settlement.
The spokesman for President Abbas revealed that Mr Obama had told the Palestinian leader that their conversation was his first with a foreign statesman since taking office. Mr Obama also spoke to President Mubarak of Egypt, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, and King Abdullah of Jordan.
I can understand his desire to put the Israeli/Palestinian conflict at the forefront of his administration, but why Abbas? Why not make that first phone call to to Israel, which is an ally.
As I said in my earlier post, the world is watching, including our enemies in al Qaeda, Hamas, Iran, and Syria. Their interpretation of Obama’s gesture to Abbas is not one that could possibly benefits us.
Fatah leader and current alleged Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was the first person supposedly called by the dear leader. That is Abbas on the right in the picture above shaking the hand of the current Hamas leader Haniyeh. The difference between these two is that Haniyeh wants Israel wiped off the map now and Abbas is willing to take the slow death by a thousand cuts approach to wiping Israel off the map.
Strange choice to say the least. Couldn’t he find an ally? What does this mean for Israel? I think it is pretty clear who’s side he will take in future matters related to the Palestine/Israel problems.