Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Obama to Palestinians: Don't circumvent peace process via UN


Obama with Cameron in London
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
President Obama had a message for the Palestinian leadership Wednesday. Don’t bother going to the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian state.
Obama, speaking in London during a news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, said that asking the United Nations to unilaterally recognize a state of Palestine as a way to avoid negotiating with Israel will not work.
“The United Nations can achieve a lot of important work,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question.
“What the United Nations is not going to be able to do is deliver a Palestinian state. For the Palestinians to take the United Nations route rather than the path of sitting down and talking is a mistake. It does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people. it will not achieve their stated goal of establishing a Palestinian state.”
The newly formed Fatah-Hamas alliance is expected to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly in September. Obama said the United States would oppose such efforts, at the UN and elsewhere.
The president reiterated his call for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians instead.
“If they are not talking we’re not going to make any progress,” he declared.
But he said, Hamas, with its current attitude toward Israel, cannot be part of that peace process.
“Hamas, in its own description of its agenda, has not renounced violence and has not recognized the state of Israel,” the president said. “Until they do, it is very difficult to expect Israelis to have a serious conversation.”
Gary Baumgarten is editor of The Jewish Reporter.

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