American president, Barack Obama, urged Israel to extend the freeze on settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, and stated that Palestinian-Israeli peace talks must continue. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Thursday, Obama said that settlement freeze has caused a change in the atmosphere of talks, and added that the stance of the US regarding halting settlement activities is clear.
“We also believe that talks must continue until they are all completed”, Obama added, “Both parties must help each other in order to overcome obstacles”.
Obama further called on the Arab states to help the Palestinians during the talks, and to move towards normalization with Israel.
“This time will be different than the past”, Obama said, “Will will not allow terrorism or instability to stand in our way”.
The American president continued by stating that the United States will do whatever it can to boost the two-state solution in order to ensure than the Israeli and Palestinian states live side by side in peace and security as part of a comprehensive peace deal.
He added that the last 12 months witnesses a lot of obstacles before negotiations were resumed.
Yet, Obama admitted that there is still a lot of pessimism as the two parties do not trust each other, and are facing internal divisions in a way that makes it difficult to achieve a lasting peace deal.
“The peace process is still facing the danger of collapse”, Obama stated, “Yet, after decades of failure, peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not impossible”.
He also said that without comprehensive peace with the Palestinians, they will not be able to live in dignity and the Israelis will not be able to live in peace and stability.
He further stated that the lack of peace will lead to further casualties on both sides.
“Those of us who are friends of Israel must understand that true security for the Jewish state requires an independent Palestine – one that allows the Palestinian people to live with dignity and opportunity,” Obama said. “And those of us who are friends of the Palestinians must understand that the rights of the Palestinian people will be won only through peaceful means – including genuine reconciliation with a secure Israel.”
He also said that countries that signed the Arab Peace Initiative must cease the chance, must start acting on normalization with Israel, and that the countries that talks about self-rule for the Palestinians must support the Palestinian Authority, politically and financially.
Obama further stated that sixty years after its establishment, Israel is a sovereign state and is considered a “historic homeland for the Jewish people”.
The U.S president added that “threats to kill Israelis will not help the Palestinian people”, saluted Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and described him as a courageous man who stands for the rights of his people.
He added that the Arab-Israeli conflict is as old as the United Nations itself, and warned that wasting time will only boost hatred and terrorism.
“This time, we will think not of ourselves, but of the young girl in Gaza who wants to have no ceiling on her dreams,” Obama said. “[W]e must think about the little boy in Sderot who wants to sleep without the nightmare of rocket fire.’