While President Obama's Middle East policy has alienated many
But while the media exhaustively covered the Obama-themed memorabilia that blanketed gift shops in countries like Japan, China, Trinidad and Tabago, and India, the implications of this Obama-mania in Gaza have been ignored by most of the major newspapers and network news programs. After the New York Post column ran on Thursday, the story has only been picked up by the Fox News Channel and political blogs.
At the Chairman Arafat gift shop, mugs depicting Obama in a Palestinian headscarf are decorated with the phrase: “Abu Hussain, Palestine Loves You” – Abu Hussain being a poorly-spelled reference to Obama's middle name. The store also sells Obama dolls festooned with vests, swords, grenades and guns.
Amidst the Obama merchandise are replicas of the headbands worn by Palestinian suicide bombers, posters of Saddam Hussein and dancing Osama bin Laden toys.
The Chairman Arafat shop has served as a barometer of acceptable public opinion in the Hamas-controlled territory for years. Some of the store's previous kitschy merchandise has included “Goldstone”-inscribed scarves – in reference to Judge Richard Goldstone, the author of an anti-Israel UN report – and mugs poking fun at the 2007
According to New York Post columnist Taheri, some of the Obama-themed memorabilia was “produced by the Palestinian Hamas movement. Taheri also reported that the phrase “Abu Hussain, Palestine Loves You” was featured on the front pages of several major Arab newspapers this week.
“That the most radical Palestinian faction has declared its love for the president may be bad news for the stalled Middle East peace talks, which Obama has promised to help restart before the end of the year,” wrote Taheri in the Post. “Pressuring