Olmert: Obama proved his leadership
Middle East responds to historic victory: Israeli prime minister says special relations between America, Jewish state to grow stronger, Palestinian President Abbas urges US president-elect to make more headway in the Middle East peace process. Hamas: Obama must learn from Bush's mistakes
The Middle East responded Wednesday morning to Barack Obama's historic victory in the US presidential elections.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert congratulated the new president and said that his victory was historic and impressive.
"America has proved once again that it is the greatest democracy, which sets an example to all democracies in the world," he said.
"Obama has proved to the world his abilities and leadership skills," Olmert added. "The Israel-US relations are special relations based on shared values and interests and characterized by tight cooperation.
"Israel and the US both want to continue strengthening those relations and advancing peace and stability in the Middle East. We have no doubt that the special relations between the two countries will grow stronger during the Obama administration era."
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Obama's victory was a "badge of honor for American democracy.
"During his visit to the country the people of Israel were impressed with the person and his commitment to Israel's safety. Israel looks forward to a continued strategic cooperation with the new administration, the new president and the American congress, and to a strengthening of the ties between the two nations," she added.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he hoped the new US leader would make more headway in the Middle East peace process than his predecessor George W. Bush.
"We expect change and we hope that that will bring peace for us," Abbas said.
Hamas called on Obama to ""learn from the mistakes of previous US administrations, and particularly the one headed by George W. Bush, towards the Arab world."
Israeli politicians also rushed to congratulate the new American leader.
Knesset Member Shlomo Mula (Kadima) said that "this is a victory for everyone who cares about social equality, which gives hope to all black people in the world and in Israel. I am full of hope that we won't have to wait 400 years for equality based on race, color and gender."
MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said that "the political system in Israel can enviously watch the US democracy with amazement and the movement which swept Obama into the White House.
"Obama's victory is good for Israel and gives hope to billions in the world and to the Middle East. Obama should be involved in the diplomatic process and in the attempts to bring about peace in the region from the very start of his tenure," he added.
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) also congratulated the US president-elect, saying that "Obama's victory is the victory of 'the other' and 'the different' and a defeat for racists.
"This is the victory of ideals over aggression. The American people have proved their greatness and embarked on the dawn of a new day, along with the rest of the world," he added.
Iran: US must implement Obama's slogan
The Islamic Republic of Iran also responded to Obama's victory, stating that this was proof that Bush's policy failed.
Former Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel said that "Obama ran in the elections under the slogan of change, and the victory of this slogan constitutes an American confession that Bush's policy failed.
Hadad Adel, who also serves as the adviser of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, added that "the US will naturally have to implement this slogan. If it does this, it will be acting wisely, but if Bush's occupation policy continues, the situation of the US will be worse and hatred towards the US across the world will grow."
US President George W. Bush telephoned Obama to congratulate him on winning the presidency. The two-term Republican president told the Illinois senator upon his historic win: "What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters."
Bush promised Obama a smooth transition to the White House. Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president told Obama: "You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself."
Dudi Cohen, Amnon Meranda and AFP contributed to this report