Middle East Fumes Over Obama's Gaza Silence

Arabs and Muslims disappointed after 'promise of change'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 5, 2009 11:10 AM CST
Barack Obama walks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, during a meeting at Olmert's residence in Jerusalem, Wednesday, July 23, 2008.    (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill, Pool)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's studied silence on the Gaza attacks—there’s only one president at a time, and so on—isn’t playing well in the Middle East, writes Simon Tisdall in the Guardian. “Foreign wars don't wait for Washington inaugurations,” Tisdall notes. Many Arabs and Muslims “cannot understand why, given his promise of change, he has not spoken out.”

Al-Jazeera TV recently slammed “the deafening silence from the Obama team.” And critics note that Obama hasn’t kept quiet about issues like the Mumbai attacks and the credit crisis. Meanwhile, some are using his silence to suggest that he’ll continue President Bush’s fiercely pro-Israel stance. Obama planned to “make clear that we are not at war with Islam.” But by the time he takes office, “the battle of perceptions may already be half-lost.”