Tension mounts between Obama and Abbas

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gave a sharp slap in the face to US President Barack Obama in a Newsweek interview published at the weekend.

In the interview, Abbas accused Obama of leading him on when it came to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He said Obama has not kept his word to pressure Israel to stop letting Jews build in Judea and Samaria.

"It was Obama who suggested a full [Israeli] settlement freeze," said Abbas. "I said OK, I accept. We both went up the tree. After that [Obama] came down with a ladder and he removed the ladder and told me to jump."

Abbas lamented that Obama seemed far more sympathetic to the "Palestinian cause" before he became president.

The White House responded by calling Abbas' claims "nonsense."

Obama did in fact pressure Israel to stop letting Jews build homes in Judea, Samaria and even the eastern side of Jerusalem, but did so on the assumption that the Palestinians would respond in kind by sitting down and negotiating with the Israelis.

They did not.

Abbas' attack on Obama is seen as part of a new Palestinian effort to lessen American influence in the peace process in preparation for a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence. Most other nations at the UN have already promised to support such a move.

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