- (Reuters/Eric Thayer)
President Obama sent the world a message in his Wednesday speech to the United Nations General Assembly, where he said that Palestine’s desire to seek official recognition as a sovereign state from the U.N. “will not come through statements and resolutions by the worldwide delegation.” Obama also reiterated his pledge to veto the Palestinian statehood resolution if it comes in front of the U.N. Security Council.
American Jewish leaders have expressed their concern about the resolution, especially in light of Obama’s comments earlier this year saying that future discussions should take into account the 1967 lines between Israel and Palestine. The comments, which Obama claimed were misunderstood, angered the Jewish community and are causing some to rethink their support of Obama as the country is going into the 2012 elections.
“I am convinced that there is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades,” Obama said in his remarks to the U.N. “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. … if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now.”
Just minutes after the president’s speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Obama’s remarks, saying his actions were “a badge of honor.”
“We want to thank you, Mr. President, for standing with Israel and supporting peace,” Netanyahu said. “We both agree that Palestinians and Israelis should sit down and negotiate. This is the only way to get a stable and durable peace.”
Although the U.S. is committed to a veto on issue, the White House is working every angle in hopes of avoiding a vote altogether. Instead, the U.S. hopes the two sides will return to the negotiating table.
“Peace depends upon compromise among peoples who must live together long after our speeches are over and our votes have been counted,” Obama said.
A day earlier, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry criticized the Obama administration as he stood with Jewish leaders in New York. He reminded Israel that if he is president, Israel can count on the complete and total support of the U.S.
Obama, much to his dismay, has been unable to assist in getting peace negotiations on track after two and a half years, further alienating the Jewish community. However, the president stressed in his U.N. address that Palestinians must first make peace with Israel before gaining statehood themselves.
“The deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes,” Obama said.
Not everyone in the room was pleased with the president’s remarks. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas seemed frustrated during Obama’s remarks. It was just one year earlier that Obama stood at the same podium and asked for the U.N. to consider statehood for the Arab territory.
“One year ago, I stood at this podium and called for an independent Palestine,” Obama said. “I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said, is that genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.”