Wednesday, September 23, 2009

64TH UN General Assembly: No Peace Deal, Settlement on (illegal) Settlements

(WASHINGTON, DC) September 23, 2009 –President Barack Obama‘s speech at the 64th UN General Assembly meeting displayed evidence that a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians has made no new ground. If anything, the speech indicated the President’s plans to restart negotiations and retract his demand for Israel to end construction of illegal colonies.

"The time has come to re-launch negotiations - without preconditions - that address the permanent-status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians; borders, refugees and Jerusalem," Obama said in his first address to the world body since assuming office in January.

For weeks rumors swirled with claims that Obama would unveil the plan for a US brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace deal this week. But, with Obama’s promise to re-launch peace talks all signs indicate that those plans have stalled.

The President claimed that talks should resume without preconditions, leaving many to wonder if the US imposed precondition of ending illegal Israeli settlement expansions are included.

"We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," Obama told world leaders at the UN.

The Presidents call for a cease in settlement expansion was countered with Israel’s approval of new Israeli colonies in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian leadership has mirrored the President's call for an end to settlement expansion as a precondition for their participation in US-led peace talks..

"I will not waver in my pursuit of peace," Obama told the UN General Assembly in New York. "I am not naïve. I know this will be difficult. But all of us must decide whether we are serious about peace, or whether we only lend it lip-service."

Try hard not to diverge into the “lipstick on a pig” metaphor. But, if the United States were to sell the Palestinians a seat at the negotiation table after backing down from Israeli resistance to cease settlement expansion, a small degree of cosmetic enhancement would be needed for the United States’ position as a "truly" honest broker.