Obama says this time will be different 23Sep10 September 24, 2010

Ma’an News Agency -  23 September 2010

With the international community’s support, the United Nations could welcome an independent Palestine as a new member next year, US President Barack Obama told world leaders Thursday.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Obama urged the world to rally behind negotiations relaunched in Washington on 2 September. He acknowledged widespread pessimism about the process but said that the alternative was violence.

“The hard realities of demography will take hold. More blood will be shed. This Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity,” he warned referring to race-based concerns in Israel about maintaining a Jewish majority.

The end of Israel’s 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction is a fast-approaching test, Obama noted, reiterating his administration’s position that “the moratorium should be extended.”

Despite international pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that he will not extend the restrictions on settlements that are due to expire by October. President Mahmoud Abbas has said that without an extension to the freeze he will walk away.

Obama urged supporters of Israel to recognize that “true security for the Jewish state requires an independent Palestine,” a line appearing to accept one of the most divisive issues raised in negotiations — Palestinians’ recognition of Israel’s Jewish character.

While the PLO has for years affirmed Israel’s right to exist, it was not expected to recognize it as a Jewish state until recently. Negotiators say such recognition would prejudice the rights of Palestinians living inside Israel and threaten the Palestinian refugees’ right to return.

The US president also called on signatories to the Arab Peace Initiative to take “tangible steps” toward normalizing relations with Israel, and he said friends of Palestine should support the Palestinian Authority’s state-building initiatives.

The courage of Abbas, “who stands up for his people in front of the world under very difficult circumstances,” is “far greater” than those who fire rockets, he said, referring to the projectiles from Gaza.

“The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance — it’s injustice,” he said.

The UN can reconvene in a year “as we have for the last 60 years” and make long speeches, “table the same resolutions,” and “waste more time,” Obama continued. “Or, we can say that this time will be different — that this time we will not let terror, or turbulence, or posturing, or petty politics stand in the way.

“If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations — an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”

If you liked this article, please consider making a donation to Australians for Palestine by clicking on the PayPal link
Thank You.
Bookmark and Share

Add a Comment

required, use real name
required, will not be published
optional, your blog address