November 7, 2012 - 1:00am


GAZA/RAMALLAH, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank and Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday expressed hopes that re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama would change his policy in the Middle East.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who congratulated Obama on winning a second presidential term, said in a statement published by the official news agency "Wafa" that Obama "has to continue his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East."

Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the presidential election on Tuesday and got another four year in office.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua that the Palestinians hope Obama will help within the coming four years in implementing the two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

"We hope that the United States would regulate the situation in the coming era of Obama in accordance to the system of its interests and conceive that democracy, peace or security in the region can't be achieved before ending the Israeli occupation and give the Palestinians their rights," said Erekat.

Over the past four years, the Palestinians blamed Obama for not exerting enough pressure on Israel to stop its settlement activities on the occupied territories, although he asked Israel to do so when he was first elected as the U.S. president in 2008.

"While Obama was running and electing yesterday, Israel was posing tenders for constructing 1,200 housing units in the settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank," said Erekat, " President Obama is urged to stop settlement activities and Israeli practices against Middle East peace."

Direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel stopped in October 2010 after Israel refused to freeze or stop settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Palestinians conditioned the resumption of the talks on the freeze of settlement activities in these territories.

Erekat called on Obama not to veto or oppose the Palestinian bid at the United Nations for the recognition of a non-member Palestinian state. As the peace process remain stalled and Israel kepts building settlements, the Palestinians decided to go to the United Nations for a state recognition.

Opposing the Palestinian UN bid, the Obama administration and Israel have called on Abbas to resume the direct talks without any preconditions and threatened to punish the PNA if the Palestinians insist on the UN bid.

Commenting on the U.S. presidential election, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement emailed to reporters that " changes in the mood of Arab and Islamic nations towards the United States is linked to returning the political balance of the American foreign policy towards the questions of the region."

"Hamas movement calls on U.S. President Barack Obama to re- evaluate the foreign policies towards the Palestinian and Arab questions and end his biased stance towards the occupation," said Abu Zuhri.

Meanwhile, Taher al-Nouno, spokesman of the de facto Hamas government in Gaza, said in a statement emailed to reporters that "the government followed with great concerns the results of the American elections and reelecting President Barack Obama for second presidential term."

"There is another opportunity for President Obama to leave and abandon the biased U.S. foreign policy towards Israel and build a moral policy that stops the double-standard in dealing with the questions of the region and bring the Palestinians their rights back," said al-Nouno.

"We listened to a moderate speech Obama had addressed after he won in the first time; but his policy clearly contradicted with his speeches he addressed in both Egypt and Turkey," said al-Nouno, "Obama has another opportunity to correct his policy and implement his oaths and promises."


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