I posted this article in arabic about a week ago. This is the english version which came out in Al-Ahram Weekly around the same time.
”Of course, the purpose of the speech was not really to address the Islamic world. It was to present a new US foreign-policy approach to the region. Indeed, much of what was contained in Obama’s speech he had said before in his speech to State Department staff, in his speech in Turkey, and in his address to the Iranian people. He was elected to change US political rhetoric, and anyone who cannot see that it has changed is blind. For change had to come. It was inevitable not because of those who applaud US policy unconditionally, whether now or in the past, but because Arab resistance and other factors had combined to destroy Washington’s previous approach to the region and the rhetoric it had used with regard to the issues of Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon.”
”Why should the Arabs hope for anything new from the new US president with regard to Palestine, having agreed so enthusiastically to Bush’s roadmap and having fixed their demands on Israel’s fulfilling its obligations under the plan after the Palestinians had carried out theirs? That they should not hope for much was clearly demonstrated during the war on Gaza. The Palestinian Authority (PA) on the West Bank not only repressed the resistance forces, but it also clamped down on peaceful demonstrations of solidarity with the people in Gaza. By so doing, the PA argued, the Palestinians would be in a position to insist that Israel meet its obligations under the roadmap because they were demonstrating their commitment to the destruction of terrorist infrastructure. The Arabs applauded Bush’s vision, and today they are applauding Obama’s. Bush envisioned a Palestinian state before the end of his term. Why expect anything from Obama, who has made exactly the same pledge?”