Obama to warn Israel, Palestinians of alternatives to Mideast peace
U.S. President: If no agreement reached, hard realities of demography will take hold and more blood will be shed.
U.S. President Barack Obama is due to speak at the United Nations' annual ministerial meeting in New York on Thursday afternoon, and express the urgency for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
"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, according to excerpts released ahead of his planned speech on Thursday.
"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 expressed deep hope in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the imminent establishment of a Palestinian state.
"When we come back here next year, we [could] have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel."
The U.S. president defended Israel's right to exist, and expressed the United States' support for its ally.
"Those who long to see an independent Palestine rise must stop trying to tear Israel down," Obama said.
"Israel’s existence must not be a subject for debate. Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people," Obama said. "It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States."
Obama condemned the bloodshed surrounding the conflict, and lauded Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in talks instead of violence.
"And efforts to threaten or kill Israelis will do nothing to help the Palestinian people – the slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance, it is injustice. Make no mistake: the courage of a man like President Abbas – who stands up for his people in front of the world – is far greater than those who fire rockets at innocent women and children."
"The conflict between Israelis and Arabs is as old as this institution… We can waste more time by carrying forward an argument that will not help a single Israeli or Palestinian child achieve a better life…Or, we can say that this time will be different."
Obama is scheduled to deliver his speech to the UN General Assembly at 4 P.M. local time (10 A.M. EDT).