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Obama to UN: "No Shortcut to Peace."

US president Barack Obama dismissed the PA statehood bid at the United Nations saying there was "no shortcut to peace."
By Gavriel Queenan
First Publish: 9/21/2011, 5:46 PM

US President Barack Obama dismissed the Palestinian Authority's statehood bid at the United Nations on Thursday saying "there is no shortcut to peace."

"I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades," Obama said in his third address at the opening of the 193-member General Assembly. "Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN - if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now," Obama said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly."  

Obama expressed his frustration at what he discribed as "the lack of progress" in now-moribund negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, reiterating the proposal he made in April while avoiding direct reference to the pre-1967 lines.

"Faced with this stalemate I put forward a new basis for negotiations," Obama said. "That basis is clear, and well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state."

Saying he believed "the Palestinians deserve a state," Obama indirectly rejected PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' unilateral bid for statehood at the world body.

"A genuine peace can only be realized between Palestinians and Israelis themselves," Obama said as Western diplomats push for a resumption of talks behind the scenes. "Negotiations between the parties is the path to a Palestinian State."

Obama also criticized the one-sided stance of nations who support the PA while refusing to acknowledge "the very real security concerns Israel faces every day."

"Let's be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it," Obama said bluntly. "Israel's citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. 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.

"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.

"There are no shortcuts," Obama reiterated. 

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is expected to present a resolution requesting the world body recognize a 'Palestinian state' based on pre-1967 lines to the Security Council on Friday.

Observers note Obama's mantra of "direct negotiations beteen the parties" is a strong signal he will keep his vow that the US will exercise its veto in the Security Council if Abbas insists on a showdown.

Editor: the full text and video of Obama's speech to the world body can be found HERE.