Speaking before the 66th session of the General Assembly, Obama said that peace in the region “will not come through statements and resolutions” at the United Nations.
Obama noted: “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.” Obama said that the Israelis and Palestinians need “to sit down together, to listen to each other, and to understand each other’s hopes and fears.”
“We appreciate the president’s support for bilateral talks instead of a unilateral declaration of statehood,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said from New York where he is meeting with numerous international delegations. “A lasting peace in the region can only be achieved when the two parties sit down to negotiate in good faith. The Israelis continue to wait for the Palestinians to return to good faith talks.”
By asking the United Nations to declare a Palestinian state, the Palestinians would be bypassing the direct bilateral negotiations necessary to establish a stable foundation to a two-state compromise. And in shifting the burden to the United Nations, the Palestinians are eschewing their responsibilities in working toward a negotiated two-state solution.
“The United States recognizes that there won’t be lasting peace without the parties themselves sitting at the table. The Palestinians should hear that message and come to the table,” said B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, also in New York for high-level U.N.-related meetings. “The recognition and emphasis on Israel’s particular security needs is an important message for the world. We welcome the president’s pledge that ‘America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring.’”
At meetings this week, B’nai B’rith will continue to encourage United Nations member states to reject calls for a unilateral declaration of statehood and will press nations to encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.