Obama for urgency in Israeli-Palestine peace deal
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 18:42
Washington: US President Barack Obama will underline the need for urgency in an Israeli-Palestine peace pact and call upon world leaders to help seal a deal in his address to the UN on Thursday.

"Consider the alternative. If an agreement is not reached, Palestinians will never know the pride and dignity that comes with their own state. Israelis will never know the certainty and security that comes with sovereign and stable neighbors who are committed to co-existence," Obama will tell the UN General Assembly in New york.

"The hard realities of demography will take hold. More blood will be shed. This Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity," Obama will say according to the excerpts of his speech released by the White House, hours before his speech.

The US president will tell the world body it is time for key regional players to help forge peace.

"Peace must be made by Israelis and Palestinians, but each of us has a responsibility to do our part as well. 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," he will say.

Obama will also make the point that "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".

"Many in this hall count themselves as friends of the Palestinians. But these pledges must now be supported by deeds. Those who have signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative should seize this opportunity to make it real by describing and demonstrating the normalization that it promises Israel," Obama is expected to say in his speech.

The president's speech will come at a critical moment for his Middle East peace initiative, with an Israeli moratorium on most settlement construction in the occupied West Bank set to lapse at the end of this month.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has warned that he will walk out of peace talks brokered by the US if Israel does not extend the settlement ban.

Obama will ask those "who speak out for Palestinian self-government" to "help the Palestinian Authority with political and financial support" as in doing so they will be helping Palestinians build the institutions of their state.

"And those who long to see an independent Palestine rise must stop trying to tear Israel down," the president will tell the international community today.

Noting that many are pessimistic about this peace process, Obama will warn against the cynics who say: "Israelis and Palestinians are too distrustful of each other, and too divided internally, to forge lasting peace".

He will note that rejectionists on both sides of the conflict will try to disrupt the process.

"Rejectionists on both sides will try to disrupt the process, with bitter words and with bombs. Some say that the gaps between the parties are too big; the potential for talks to break down is too great; and that after decades of failure, peace is simply not possible," he will tell world leaders, according to the remarks released by the White House.

He is expected to remind them that the conflict between Israelis and Arabs is as old as this institution. "And we can come back here, next year, as we have for the last sixty, and make long speeches about it".

"We can read familiar lists of grievances. We can table the same resolutions. We can further empower the forces of rejectionism and hate. We can waste more time by carrying forward an argument that will not help a single Israeli or Palestinian child achieve a better life. We can do that, Obama will tell world leaders.


First Published: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 18:42

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