President Barack Obama told the United Nations and the world today what Israel and the rest of us have known and have been saying all along: The Arab-Israeli conflict is not the cause of instability in the Middle East. Rather it has been a convenient excuse for Arab leaders to fail to give their own people freedom and respect their basic human rights.
Here's what the President said:
The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that this conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home.
And he had a message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the recent Gaza War proved that Israel must maintain security control over all lands the Palestinians seek to build a state on:
And the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace. But let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable.
He indicated that he intends to keep pressing for peace and the two-state approach that Netanyahu appears to have abandoned in all but lip service:
We cannot afford to turn away from this effort – not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis, or the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza. So long as I am President, we will stand up for the principle that Israelis, Palestinians, the region, and the world will be more just with two states living side by side, in peace and security.
The President devoted only 176 words of his 4,261-word address to the Arab-Israeli conflict. He had much more to say about the broader Middle East conflicts, ISIL, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Islamist terrorism. It is worth reading. The full text is available here.