President Obama Speaks at UN Assembly

United Nations

President Obama used his speech at the United Nations General assembly this morning to highlight the changes across the globe during the last year, including the revolutions in the Arab World and the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Trying to avert a diplomatic showdown, President Obama told the United Nations general assembly now is not the time for Palestinian statehood.

President Obama said, “There is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work.”

The president is trying to convince Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to ask for formal recognition of a Palestinian state, saying direct negotiations are the only way to achieve peace in the region.

President Obama said, “Ultimately, is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them.”

US officials admit that their efforts to persuade Abbas to drop his bid may fail. The Obama administration has pledged that the US will veto if there is a vote.

In Ramallah today, thousands crammed the streets to show their support for statehood.

Arab-Israeli member of Israeli Knesset Jamal Zahalka said, “We think that the United States is biased towards Israel and actually became an obstacle toward justice in the region."

But talk of a separate Palestinian state is sparking new clashes.

In the west bank, Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers. While in another village, Israelis living in the disputed settlements showed they aren't going anywhere.

Mayor of Itamar Settlement Mosch Goldsmith said, “This is our homeland and we are here to stay.”

The president will try again to convince both sides to head back to the negotiation table when he meets separately today with Israeli and Palestinian leaders

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to formally present his bid for statehood on Friday.


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