US President Barack Obama on Thursday called the international community to unite around peace efforts to create an independent Palestine and a secure Israel – within a year. In a speech to the UN general assembly, the American leader urged fellow world leaders to press forward with renewed determination in the quest for peace in the Middle East.
Without an agreement, Obama said, "more blood will be shed", and "this Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity". Obama's call for a Palestinian state drew a burst of applause from throughout the hall.
Obama repeated the his position that the settlement moratorium should be extended. "It has made a difference on the ground and improved the atmosphere for talks," he said. Obama implored the international community to get behind the idea of peace, and forget favouritism. "Those of us who are friends of Israel must understand that true security for the Jewish state requires an independent Palestine," he said.
"And those of us who are friends of the Palestinians must understand that the rights of the Palestinian people will be won only through peaceful means – including genuine reconciliation with a secure Israel."