Sen. Barack Obama’s speech to AIPAC has convinced Hamas that he and Sen. John McCain are interchangeable. If the group had its druthers, neither one would win.
"Obama’s comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration’s foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.
"The Democratic and Republican parties support totally the Israeli occupation at the expense of the interests and rights of Arabs and Palestinians," he 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."
Hamas had never actually endorsed Obama. In April, Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef told WABC radio that "we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will [win] the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance."
The campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at the time characterized this as an endorsement, and made hay out of the kind words.
But today it wasn’t just the terrorists of Hamas expressing chagrin at Obama’s speech.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas took issue with Obama’s assertion that Jerusalem would remain the "undivided" capital of Israel.
"We reject these words," Abbas said. "Jerusalem is one of the files under negotiation. The entire world knows perfectly well that we will never accept a state without Jerusalem. That should be clear."
And Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said that Obama’s "remarks on Jerusalem cast doubt over the chances of peace…We reject the positions of Barack Obama because they are in contradiction with the traditional positions of the United States which considers that east Jerusalem is under occupation."