United States President Barack Obama lauded Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders in a speech Tuesday at the United Nations.
Obama spoke in support of the ongoing Israel-PA peace talks, and said he was glad to see that more young Israelis recognize that “the occupation of the West Bank” cannot continue.
Young Arabs in Ramallah are “understandably cynical” regarding the talks and frustrated at “the daily indignities of occupation,” he said.
The “West Bank” is the term American and other international leaders use to refer to Judea and Samaria (Shomron). The territories were settled by both Jews and Arabs until 1948, when Jordan won control of the area in a war with the fledgling Jewish state.
Israel won the territory back 19 years later, in 1967, and an estimated 600,000 Israeli Jews currently live in the region. Estimates of the number of Palestinian Authority Arabs in the region range from 1.5 million to 2.4 million.
The PA has claimed the area as Arab territory, to be used to establish a PA-led Arab state of “Palestine.” PA leaders term Jews living in the region “settlers” and insist that all Jews be forced to leave.
Allowing the PA to create the Arab state it seeks is the only way to peace, Obama declared. “Friends of Israel, including the United States, must realize that Israel’s security… depends on the realization of the Palestinian state,” he said.
“Arab states must realize that security will only be realized through a two-state solution,” he added.
Peace between Israel and the PA “will be a powerful tool to defeat extremists throughout the region,” he said.
World Sometimes Called to Act
Obama also addressed instability in Egypt and Syria. He hinted at a continued willingness to back military intervention in Syria over the use of chemical weapons.
Sometimes, he said, violence against civilians becomes so bad “that the international community will be called upon to act.”
“Even when American interests are not directly threatened, we stand ready to do our part… to protect basic human rights,” he said.