President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly today, speaking on the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Make no mistake; he said yet again that he will oppose a unilateral Palestinian declaration of independence, agreeing with Prime Minister Netanyahu that there is no substitute for direct negotiations. Stressing Israel’s security needs, he told leaders of many Arab states what they may not have wanted to hear. His staunch defense of Israel and his acute awareness of Israel’s security needs clearly placed the United States side by side with Israel in the presence of the international community.
Below are excerpts from Obama’s speech this morning:
Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN - if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. 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.
America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. 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.
Despite all of the destructive chatter from those trying to use Israel as a partisan wedge issue, here’s the truth; this pro-Israel President stands up for Israel again and again. Eloquently at the UN just now, by leading on the Iron Dome, by saving the lives of Israelis, and in so many other ways.
Click here to sign NJDC’s card thanking the President for his defense of Israel at the UN today.
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