Yousef Alhelou, is a Palestinian freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Gaza-Palestine. His work has been featured in a variety of media outlets including BBC, GRN, CBC radio Canada, TV New Zealand, UN observer, Press TV, Etejah TV, Maan news network, Electronic Intifada among many others. Yousef is a UN fellow and took part in many speaking tours in Europe about his work experience working in a war-zoon. Yousef covered the infighting between Fatah and Hamas as well as the two Israeli wars on Gaza, siege-breaking boats and many other major events since 2006. Yousef runs Gaza TV News page on facebook that has over 46,000 followers.
During Obama’s Middle East trip, hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza took to the streets in demonstrations against the visit. Expectations are zero that Obama will broker peace between Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Some Palestinians say that the Barack administration opposes the national reconciliation between the Western backed Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza which is labeled as a terrorist organization by Israel and the US.
Palestinians in the occupied territories staged anti-Obama protests as he arrived in Israel for a 3-day visit.In Gaza city, demonstrators set fire to posters of Obama, saying the president’s trip would make no difference to Palestinian aspirations.Ordinary Palestinians complain that Obama has not put enough pressure on Israel to end the occupation of their land, or halt the construction of settlements, adding that they did not expect US President Barack Obama’s visit to change the situation for Palestinians.(Interview: Hani Oshiba, Gaza resident)Transcript: (Obama is not here to rescue the Palestinians, he is not here to push for Palestinian reconciliation or any Palestinian unity, and he is here to save the face of the US in the region, to say we are here, we are still interested in the peace process but on the ground things are just otherwise)The Real News talked to a number of Palestinian officials about what they think of this visit and whether they think the US is opposing Palestinian national reconciliation between the western backed secular Fatah party led by President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamist Hamas faction, which is considered by the US as a terrorist organization.(Interview: Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas official)Transcript: (Obama’s visit to the region is not welcome because this visit aims to support the Israeli occupation and legalize it on the expense of the Palestinians national rights. This visit will deepen the gap between the Arab nations and the US administration and no doubt it will leave a negative effect on the Palestinian reconciliation in light of the American position which opposes the Palestinian reconciliation)(Interview: Faisal Abu Shahla, Fatah Official)Transcript: (If the United States is really the biggest state in the world and the strongest and they want justice and peace in the area, they should acknowledge the Palestinian rights and recognize the Palestinian state with its capital Jerusalem and the right of return and the release of all Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails. we as Palestinians do what we believe is for the benefit of our case and people, but we say to Hamas come to achieve reconciliation and do not put obstacles for that and say that the others are preventing it. We do not sell our Palestinian rights and our Palestinian case in exchange for all the world’s money, because we paid Palestinian blood ).(Interview: Jameel Mezher, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine)Transcript: (Obama is in the region to support Netanyaho and his government and to give cover for more crimes against the Palestinian people and continue the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Obama should condemn the settlement policy and exercise a real pressure to stop the Judization of the holy city of Jerusalem and he should support the rights of the Palestinian people. I think he will put pressure on President Abbas to go back to the peace process, which we tried for 20 years and did not bring any thing for us. The US administration should not intervene the Palestinian affairs and should allow the Palestinian people to practice their right to go for national reconciliation and resist the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land)While Barack Obama is in the region in only his second visit to the Middle East since taking office in 2008, expectations for Palestinians who accuse him of unfairly favoring Israel, are very low.Palestinians see little reason for optimism in his new term.Palestinian here say that they do not see that American policy is helpful regarding bringing the Israeli occupation to an end, accusing Obama of siding with Israel on every issue.
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