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Obama Policy Adviser Raises Israeli Concerns

JERUSALEM – While officials here largely maintain a policy against interfering in U.S. presidential politics, some Israeli security officials quietly expressed “concern” about an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.

The officials noted that Robert Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority president Yasir Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.

Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.

Malley’s contentions have been strongly refuted by key participants at Camp David, including President Bill Clinton, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and primary U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, all of whom squarely blamed Arafat’s refusal to make peace for the talks’ failure.

“We are noting with concern some of Obama’s picks as advisers, particularly Robert Malley who has expressed sympathy to Hamas and Hizbullah and offered accounts of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that don’t jibe with the facts,” said one security official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official stated he was not authorized to talk to the media about U.S. politics, noting Israeli officials are instructed to “stay out” of American political affairs.

In February 2006, after Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament and amid a U.S. and Israeli attempt to isolate the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority, Malley wrote an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun advocating international aid to the terror group’s newly formed government.

“The Islamists (Hamas) ran on a campaign of effective government and promised to improve Palestinians’ lives; they cannot do that if the international community turns its back,” wrote Malley in a piece entitled, “Making the Best of Hamas’ Victory.”

Malley contended the election of Hamas expressed Palestinian “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, Western lecturing and, most recently and tellingly, the threat of an aid cut off in the event of an Islamist success.”

Malley said the U.S. should not “discourage third-party unofficial contacts with [Hamas] in an attempt to moderate it.”

Hamas is responsible for scores of deadly shootings, suicide bombings and rocket attacks aimed at Jewish civilian population centers. Hamas’s official charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel.

Hamas maintained a national unity government with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas until the Palestinian leader dissolved the agreement and deposed the Hamas prime minister last year.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post two weeks ago coauthored by Arafat adviser Hussein Agha, Malley – using what could be perceived as anti-Israel language – urged Israel’s negotiating partner Abbas to reunite with Hamas.

“A renewed national compact and the return of Hamas to the political fold would upset Israel’s strategy of perpetuating Palestinian geographic and political division,” wrote Malley.

Malley was a special assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs and was a member of the U.S. peace team during the Camp David negotiations. He currently serves as director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the International Crisis Group, which is partially funded by billionaire and Obama campaign contributor George Soros, who also serves on the board of the Crisis Group.

Several other Obama advisers, including former national security adviser (to President Jimmy Carter) Zbigniew Brzezinski and Harvard professor Samantha Power, are widely seen as tilting toward the Palestinian cause.

Obama recently complained to Israel’s Haaretz daily about a “constant virulent campaign” being waged against him, aimed particularly at weakening support among Democratic voters within the Jewish community.

Obama said “false” e-mail campaigns calling him Muslim and accusing him of not pledging allegiance to the U.S. have been especially visible in the Jewish community.

Meanwhile, Obama’s spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright Jr. of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, recently presented Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan with a “Lifetime Achievement” award. Farrakhan has expressed consistent anti-Israel views.

Wright has called for divestment from Israel and refers to Israel as a “racist” state.”

Obama called Wright’s heralding of Farrakhan a “mistake” but has not spoken out against Wright’s views regarding Israel.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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