“Too many Israelis are ready to abandon peace”, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday, as he addressed the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
“The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that this conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home. And the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace,” he said as he opened the 69th General Assembly in New York.
“But let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable. We cannot afford to turn away from this effort – not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis, or the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza,” he continued.
“So long as I am President, we will stand up for the principle that Israelis, Palestinians, the region, and the world will be more just with two states living side by side, in peace and security,” said Obama.
The speech also dealt with the “Islamic State” (IS or ISIS) terrorist group, two days after the U.S. and its allies launched airstrikes on IS targets in Syria as part of a plan announced by Obama two weeks ago.
IS, said Obama, “must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed.”
“This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world,” he said.
“There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death,” declared Obama.
He reiterated that he does not intend to send troops into Iraq and Syria, saying, “We will use our military might in a campaign of air strikes to roll back [IS]. We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground. We will work to cut off their financing, and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region. Already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition. Today, I ask the world to join in this effort.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of the Rosh Hashanah holiday in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)