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Did Hamas 'un-endorse' Obama?

Sami Abu Zuhri

JERUSALEM – Reacting to comments widely interpreted as Hamas’ retraction of an endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, a spokesman for the terrorist group clarified to WND he was specifically referring to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s pro-Israel speech yesterday.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told WND today both Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain take positions “hostile” to Hamas.

Obama told the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee he would ensure Israel’s “qualitative military advantage” in the Middle East.

The Illinois senator also said he supports Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

Following Obama’s speech to AIPAC yesterday, Zuhri told a Reuters reporter in Gaza that “Obama’s comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration’s foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

“The Democratic and Republican parties support totally the Israeli occupation at the expense of the interests and rights of Arabs and Palestinians,” Zuhri said.

“Hamas does not differentiate between the two presidential candidates, Obama and McCain, because their policies regarding the Arab-Israel conflict are the same and are hostile to us, therefore we do have no preference and are not wishing for either of them to win.”

Zuhri’s statements were used by U.S. media outlets today in articles claiming Hamas had “unendorsed” Obama.

Zuhri clarified his remarks to WND:

“I was responding to the speech. We deal with statements and not motivations. Right now Obama’s statements prove he is like other American presidents and won’t bring any change.”

Zuhri said Obama’s remarks to AIPAC are “only hurting the American people, since he presents his leadership as an enemy to the Palestinians and to the Arab nation.”

The Hamas “endorsement” of Obama referenced by media came from an interview with WND and WABC radio in April in which Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ chief political adviser in Gaza, said he “hopes” Obama becomes president and compared the Illinois senator to President John F. Kennedy.

“We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections,” said Yousef.

“I hope Mr. Obama and the Democrats will change the political discourse. … I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principal. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance,” Yousef said, speaking from Gaza.

Yousef, though, seemed to anticipate Obama would make pro-Israel remarks:

“I understand American politics, and this is the season for elections and everybody tries to sound like he’s a friend of the Israelis … so whatever [the] Israelis didn’t like they will take from all those candidates,” he said.

Yousef said that in Hamas’ view, Obama has “a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with humiliation and arrogance.”

Yousef’s statements were circulated worldwide.

Last month, WND quoted a senior Hamas official stating the terrorist organization is strongly considering issuing an official statement claiming it doesn’t endorse any U.S. presidential candidate.

Other Hamas sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the terror group “understands” Yousef’s praise for Obama is harming the Illinois senator.



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