Monday, Oct 05 , 2015 ( Thul-Hijjah, 1436)

Updated:04:40 PM GMT

Obama Rejects Palestinian Statehood Bid

OnIslam & News Agencies

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"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN," Obama told the UN General Assembly. (Reuters)
Obama, Palestine, statehood, UN

NEW YORK – Rejecting a Palestinian drive to seek recognition at the United Nations, US President Barack Obama said that talks are the only way for resolving the Middle East conflict.

"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN," Obama told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, September 21, reported Reuters.

"If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will tender a request to the UN on Friday, September 23, for recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

Showdown over Palestinian Statehood (Special)

Washington has threatened to veto the Palestinian statehood recognition and Israel has threatened punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority.

Obama said that creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel remained his goal.

"But the question isn't the goal we seek -- the question is how to reach it," he said.

"And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades.

"Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. 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," he added.

US-sponsored peace talks collapsed last year over Israel's refusal to halt settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

There are more than 164 Jewish settlements in the West Bank, eating up more than 40 percent of the occupied territory.

The international community considers all settlements on the occupied land illegal.

The Palestinians see statehood as opening the way for negotiations between equals. Israel says the Palestinian move aims at de-legitimizing the Jewish state.


Obama's speech deeply disappointed the Palestinians.

"You would think that the Palestinians are occupying Israel," Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, said in a conference call with reporters.

Ashrawi accused Obama of showing empathy with Israelis, but not Palestinians, saying that the US was applying double standards when it comes to the Palestinian rights.

"They apply to every Arab individual, but when it comes to Palestinians suffering from an oppressive foreign military occupation, somehow ... these principles do not apply," she said.

"They only apply when Arabs rebel against their own oppressive regime."

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, was also critical of Obama's speech.

"We expected to hear that the liberty of the Palestinian people is the key to the Arab spring," he said.

"The entire region deserves liberty."

But Obama's speech was a jubilance to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Obama "for standing with Israel and supporting peace through direct negotiations".

"We both agree that this is the only way," he said.

The hawkish premier said that "Palestinians deserve a state".

"But it's a state that has to make peace with Israel, and therefore the attempt to shortcut this process will not succeed.

"I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state through the international community, but they are not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return," he said.
Related Links:
Palestinians to Drop UN Vote for New Talks
Palestinian Statehood Gains Global Support
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Palestinian Vote Leaves Israel in Quandary
US Seeks to Abort UN Palestinian Statehood

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