News / Middle East

Arab Americans Found Hope, Disappointment in 2010

US role in Middle East peace seen as cornerstone of Arab-American relations

US Mideast envoy George Mitchell leaves following his meeting about Mideast peace talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo, 3 Oct. 2010
US Mideast envoy George Mitchell leaves following his meeting about Mideast peace talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo, 3 Oct. 2010

Multimedia

Mohamed Elshinnawi

A group of Arab Americans meeting at the Al Hewar Center in suburban Washington consider the U.S. role in Middle East peace the cornerstone of Arab-American relations.

For them President Barack Obama began his first year in office in 2009 with a clear commitment to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and support for a Palestinian state.

"The cause of peace in the Middle East is important to us and to our national interest," Obama said. "It is important to me personally."

Israeli-Palestinian Talks

But despite the restart of U.S.-mediated peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, those talks have stalled over Israel's refusal to agree to a new freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.

And for that, members of the group say Obama is partly to blame.

"He promised that Israel has to stop its settlements, and Israel stands in defiance of the American administration," says Omar Khalida, a businessman.

College student Ahmed Aisawah adds, "As an Arab, I do not perceive a Middle East peace process as long as the U.S. continues its total support for Israel."

Iraq

However, when it comes to Iraq, President Obama's strategy won praise from some of the group's members.

"The Iraqi people before the change did not have any hope," says Diaa Saadawi, a book store manager. "Now at least they have hope."

But some were concerned about Iraq's future, even though Obama has ended the U.S. combat mission there. People such as restaurant owner Mohamed Abu Abed.

"I do not think that there will be a new Iraq for a long time because it is completely destroyed," he said.

Egypt

The fate of Egyptian democracy is another topic of concern at Al Hewar Center.

The Obama administration criticized the lack of transparency in parliamentary elections this past November, but student Ahmed al-Sawah still questions the U.S. commitment to democracy across the Middle East.

"Who is currently in power is passing it onto his son," says al-Sawah. "And if that suits U.S. strategic interests, Washington would not mind power inheritance in the Arab world."

Al-Sawah referrs to widespread speculation that President Hosni Mubarak is preparing his son Gamal to succeed him.

Stephen Seche, the former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, concedes that U.S. strategic interests can play a role in America's policies toward the Middle East. But he says the will of the people should not be ignored.

"We have to be able to make it clear that our commitment will extend to the daily issues that trouble the people of the region and make a very strong and concerted effort to find a resolution to those problems as well," says Seche.

Anti-Muslim sentiment

A Florida Christian minister's orginal plan to burn hundreds of copies of the Quran and other protests against a proposed Islamic cultural center in New York near where Islamist terrorists attacked in 2001, also concerned the participants in the discussion with Seche.

"That controversy that erupted made some Muslims in the Arab world feel that America is anti-Muslim or anti-Islam," says Khaled Saffouri, an Arab-American activist.

But despite their concerns about anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States, and U.S. policies toward the Middle East, many Arab Americans at the discussion say they hope the coming year will bring better U.S. relations with Arabs and Muslims around the world.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid