Obama: No shortcut to peace in Middle East

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that there could be no shortcut to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as he sought to head off a United Nations showdown over Palestinian statehood that’s becoming a thorny diplomatic problem for his administration.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” the president told the U.N. General Assembly. “Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side.

“Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians — not us — who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them.”

Obama forcefully defended his opposition to the Palestinians’ plan to seek statehood recognition from the U.N. Security Council, though without directly calling on the Palestinians to drop the bid, or offering a clear path forward in its place. With the limits of U.S. influence on the moribund peace process never more clear, Obama had no new demands for the Israelis, either, beyond repeating his position that both sides deserved their own state and security and should return to the negotiating table to achieve it.

Behind the scenes, U.S. diplomats were working furiously to get Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to moderate his plans, but it was not clear they would be successful.

Source: Julie Pace,  Associated Press