The Palestinian Authority has refrained from officially declaring its support for one of the US presidential hopefuls, claiming this was an "internal American issue", but a Lebanese newspaper reported Tuesday that Palestinian leaders in the West Bank are hoping for Democrat Barack Obama's victory.
Sources in Ramallah told the al-Akhbar daily that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are expecting Obama to win, "despite his leaning towards Israel,"
which they said was aimed at gaining the support of the Israel and the Jewish lobby in the United States.
The sources said that during a recent meeting with Obama, the two Palestinian leaders "heard the best things they ever heard from an American president."
According to the report, the Democratic senator told Abbas and Fayyad that he "supports the rights of the Palestinians to east Jerusalem, as well as their right to a stable, sovereign state", but asked them to keep the remarks a secret.
Dennis Ross, a key advisor to Obama on foreign policy, denied the report outright. "As someone who was present in Senator Obama’s meeting with the Palestinian leadership, I can state definitively that there were no secret commitments made, and no discussion of Jerusalem whatsoever. This report is false,” his statement said.
Abbas' political advisor Nimer Hamad also said the report was completely unfounded, adding that during his meeting with the Palestinian leader in Ramallah, Obama "confirmed that he would work since the first day of his election to activate the peace process on the basis of the roadmap and agreements previously signed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. We condemn any attempt to mislead the public opinion through incorrect statements attributed to him."
Hamad told the Lebanese paper that "the Palestinian Authority briefed Obama on the dangers threatening the efforts to achieve peace in the region,
and told him that the ongoing construction in the settlements will terminate the peace process.
"The Palestinian Authority views the American elections as an internal matter and does not favor one person over another. The PA hopes that the next American president will fulfill his commitment towards the Palestinians and pressure Israel," Hamad added.
Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to the report