Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highly praised US President Barack Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, during which the American leader repeatedly referred to Israel as "the Jewish state" and demanded an end to Palestinian incitement against it.
However, while two of Israel's top peace demands are recognition as a Jewish state and an end to Palestinian incitement, observers noted that Obama did far more to damage Israel's legitimacy by highlighting the "occupation" and Jewish settlements as the root of the conflict.
"The goal is clear: two states living side by side in peace and security: a Jewish State of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967," said Obama. The how and why of how those territories came to be in Israel's possession were again glossed over.
All that matters now, stated Obama, is that "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."
There is concern that adopting the Arab line regarding the "occupation" will only perpetuate the conflict by encouraging the Arabs to push for rights to or compensation for the rest of "occupied Palestine," which they say encompasses all of the State of Israel.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas didn't go quite so far in his initial response to Obama's speech, but did use the president's address as a pretext to declare Netanyahu an unfit peace partner due to his failure to completely halt all Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and on the eastern side of Jerusalem.
"The Netanyahu government is a real problem and there is no common ground for negotiations with it," said Abbas in an interview with the Palestinian daily Al-Hayyat. "Construction in the settlements is continuing, Netanyahu is declaring Jerusalem...not up for negotiations, so what is there to talk about?"
Meanwhile, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in his first ever address to the UN General Assembly reintroduced his solution to the conflict, which he calls "Isratine," a single where every citizen, Arab and Jew, has a vote.
Gaddafi's ideas have never garnered much attention, and few delegates were on hand or awake to hear him speak about Isratine, despite the Libyan leader's attempt to grab attention by ripping up a copy of the UN Charter while at the podium.
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