Obama: Israel cannot ‘permanently occupy, settle Palestinian land’

US president Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2016 in New York City (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)


In final, wide-ranging UN address, US president also says Palestinians must reject incitement, recognize ‘legitimacy of Israel’

US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that while the Palestinians should reject terror and incitement, Israel must recognize that it cannot “permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”

“Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel. But Israel must recognize that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land. We all have to do better,” the US president said at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

In his wide-ranging address, Obama sought to use his last appearance before the global body to define how his leadership had put the world on a better trajectory over the last eight years. At the heart of that approach, Obama said, is the notion that conflicts are best solved when nations cooperate.

In his address, Obama spoke of a “less violent” and “more prosperous” world but one rife with “uncertainty, unease and strife,” as nations struggle with a devastating refugee crisis, terrorism and a breakdown of order in the Middle East.

“Despite enormous progress, governing has become more difficult, and tensions are more quick to surface,” he said, adding that the world now faces a choice, to “press forward with a better model for cooperation and integration, or retreat into a world that is sharply divided.”

“This is the paradox that defines the world today,” Obama said. “We must go forward, and not backward.”

Earlier on Tuesday, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon told the UN General Assembly that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be a two-state solution, and that the one-state option would “spell doom” for both sides.

“This is madness. Replacing a two-state solution with a one-state construct would spell doom: denying Palestinians their freedom and rightful future, and pushing Israel further from its vision of a Jewish democracy towards greater global isolation,” said Ban.

Full article: Obama: Israel cannot ‘permanently occupy, settle Palestinian land’ (Times of Israel)

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