"We expected to hear that the liberty of the Palestinian people is the key to the Arab spring," he said. "The entire region deserves liberty."
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas'
spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, addressed Obama's repeated call for renewed peace talks, saying that the Palestinians are willing to return to the negotiating table pending the fulfillment of a few conditions.
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"We are prepared to restart negotiations the moment that Israel stops settlement construction and agrees to discuss the 1967 lines," he said.
Rudeina added that only immediate termination of "occupation" can lead to peace in the Middle East.
"The US government must really pressure the Israeli side to retreat from the occupied territories," he stated. "The people will not stand by silently as the occupation continues."
Addressing the revolutionary maelstrom shaking up the region, Rudeina said: "The uprisings in the Arab world are a warning message to the world. The international community must realize that the world is changing, and that Israel needs to change its policy."
Abbas is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Friday. He is then expected to submit the Palestinian Authority's application for full UN membership to the international body's secretary-general, Ban Ki Moon.
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Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki told Palestinian television following Obama's speech that "The time has come for us to stop differentiating between Israel and the US, because they are committing the same crime.
"The Americans slaughtered the Indians there, so wouldn't they be capable of slaughter here? The world is a small global village, and it is changing," he added.
Senior Hamas official in Gaza Ahmed Yousef dismissed the president's positions as nothing new. He said that the peace talks are doomed due to the US' inability to pressure Israel to stop settlement construction.
"Obama's statements are pro-Israeli, and are considered an evasion of the Palestinian UN bid,"
Yousef said. "The US has proved that it is not an honest broker in the Palestinian issue."
Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri noted that "Obama adopted Israel's stance in his speech. This is the US' permanent position, as its ties with Israel are stronger than its ties with the Arabs."
Masri suggested that Obama is taking Israel's side in the conflict to ensure that he gets the Jewish vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
King Abdullah II of Jordan, who spoke at the UN General assembly later Wednesday, said that his nation "will continue to strongly support the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to statehood in fulfillment of their aspirations and in accordance with UN resolutions."
He denounced Israel's settlement construction and claimed that a crisis would arise "from efforts to annihilate the Arab character of east Jerusalem," but noted that the issue "can only be resolved through negotiations."
He spoke in support of the two-state solution, "with a sovereign, independent, and viable Palestine," asserting that it is the only way to end the conflict in the region.