UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that there could be no short cut to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as he sought to head off a looming diplomatic crisis for the Middle East and U.S. policy there.
“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now,” the president said. “Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians — not us — who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them.”
But in the speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Obama stopped short of directly calling on the Palestinians to drop their plan to seek statehood recognition from the U.N. Security Council. U.S. officials are working furiously behind the scenes to persuade the Palestinians. 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 saying that both sides deserved their own state and security.