In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Barack Obama said the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own, but this goal can only be achieved via direct talks with Israel.
I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N., Obama said. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians -- not us -- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.
The Role of Compromise
What's more, Obama underscored the importance of compromise in solving the long-standing dispute between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Peace depends upon compromise among peoples who must live together long after our speeches are over, and our votes have been counted. That is the lesson of Northern Ireland, where ancient antagonists bridged their differences. That is the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is the path to a Palestinian state, Obama said.
Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Israel's Security
Obama also reaffirmed the United States' commitment to Israel's security.
America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let's be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel's citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses, Obama said.
Israel's children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map.
The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile, persecution, and the fresh memory of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they were, Obama said. These facts cannot be denied. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland.
Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.
In his wide-ranging speech, Obama also expressed support for democratic change sweeping the Arab world, reiterated the need for additional sanctions against Syian Leader Bashar al-Assad, and called on Iran and North Korea to meet their nuclear obligations.
Political/Public Policy Analysis: Obama's speech probably will not persaude the Palestinian Authority from seeking United Nations' recognition, but it sends a clear message to the PA: there are no short-cuts to a viable, fair, two-state solution, and the U.S. will oppose any tactic that is not rooted in respect for each nation.