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Wednesday, September 23, 2009
President Obama's Remarks at UN: U.S.commitment to Israel's security conditioned on accepting what he sees as legitimate Palestinian claims

The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering
commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the
legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Is this a threat to take us back to the toolshed
for a thrashing if we don't dance to his tune - or worse?

Here is how this kind of threatening talk boomerangs:

What kind of "risks for peace" can we take if the President of the United
States says in a carefully prepared address to the UN that as far as he is
concerned if at any time in the future - no matter what concessions and
withdrawals we make - if we find ourselves in a dispute with the
Palestinians and American thinks the Palestinians have a point then we can
kiss America's "unwavering commitment to our security" goodbye.

Set up a patchwork arrangement of sovereignties in Jerusalem after that
warning? No thanks boss.

How about pull out of the Golan? Sorry - got to pass on that one too.]

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
______________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release September 23,
2009

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York

10:10 A.M. EDT
www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-to-the-United-Nations-General-Assembly/

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow
delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to address you for the first
time as the 44th President of the United States. (Applause.)... No longer
do we have the luxury of indulging our differences to the exclusion of the
work that we must do together.

...Upon taking office, I appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace,
and America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two
states -- Israel and Palestine -- in which peace and security take root, and
the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians are respected.
..
We've also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have
joined the Human Rights Council. (Applause.)

... The violent extremists who promote conflict by distorting faith have
discredited and isolated themselves. They offer nothing but hatred and
destruction. In confronting them, America will forge lasting partnerships
to target terrorists, share intelligence, and coordinate law enforcement and
protect our people.

...Our efforts to promote peace, however, cannot be limited to defeating
violent extremists. For the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the hope
of human beings -- the belief that the future belongs to those who would
build and not destroy; the confidence that conflicts can end and a new day
can begin.

...I will also continue to seek a just and lasting peace between Israel,
Palestine, and the Arab world. (Applause.) We will continue to work on
that issue. Yesterday, I had a constructive meeting with Prime Minister
Netanyahu and President Abbas. We have made some progress. Palestinians
have strengthened their efforts on security. Israelis have facilitated
greater freedom of movement for the Palestinians. As a result of these
efforts on both sides, the economy in the West Bank has begun to grow. But
more progress is needed. We continue to call on Palestinians to end
incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does
not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.)

The time has come -- the time has come to re-launch negotiations without
preconditions that address the permanent status issues: security for
Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. And the goal
is clear: Two states living side by side in peace and security -- a Jewish
state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable,
independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the
occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian
people. (Applause.)

As we pursue this goal, we will also pursue peace between Israel and
Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and a broader peace between Israel and its many
neighbors. In pursuit of that goal, we will develop regional initiatives
with multilateral participation, alongside bilateral negotiations.

Now, I am not na´ve. I know this will be difficult. But all of us -- not
just the Israelis and the Palestinians, but all of us -- must decide whether
we are serious about peace, or whether we will only lend it lip service. To
break the old patterns, to break the cycle of insecurity and despair, all of
us must say publicly what we would acknowledge in private. The United
States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment
to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims
and rights of the Palestinians. (Applause.) And -- and nations within this
body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks
against Israel over constructive willingness to recognize Israel's
legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security. (Applause.)

We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us.
It's not paid by politicians. It's paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who
closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the middle of
the night. It's paid for by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean
water and no country to call his own. These are all God's children. And
after all the politics and all the posturing, this is about the right of
every human being to live with dignity and security. That is a lesson
embedded in the three great faiths that call one small slice of Earth the
Holy Land. And that is why, even though there will be setbacks and false
starts and tough days, I will not waver in my pursuit of peace. (Applause.)

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