Jean-Paul Burdy

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24-9-2011-Obama-Etat-Palestinien-ONU

« Washington, We 've Got a Problem... »

Obama à l'ONU (1) la Palestine




Ce 21 septembre 2011, Barack H.Obama a beaucoup déçu au Proche et au Moyen-Orient 1. Son discours convenu devant l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU n'a, certes, pas surpris grand monde. La position américaine sur la question centrale de la session 2011 -la demande officielle de l'Autorité palestinienne d'une reconnaissance de la Palestine comme Etat membre- était connue depuis quelques semaines: quoi qu'il arrive, Washington y opposera au Conseil de sécurité, si besoin est, son veto. Les observateurs (les observatrices) ont noté l'accueil pour le moins mitigé que la grande majorité des délégués ont réservé au discours du président américain. Son propos a, en effet, signifié l'abandon évident de quelques objectifs essentiels du début du mandat. Et mis en exergue quelques contradictions américaines face aux « révolutions arabes »: soutenues par Washington dans certains pays, mais pas dans d'autres. Focus sur la Palestine, et sur le Bahreïn...


Sur la Palestine, les analyses et les commentaires sont innombrables. Nous nous contenterons de rappeler les grands espoirs que l'arrivée de B.Obama à la Maison Blanche avait soulevé au Proche et au Moyen-Orient, au moins chez ceux qui pensaient que seuls les Etats-Unis disposaient d'une capacité de pression suffisante sur la partie israélienne -tous les autres acteurs (la France de Nicolas Sarkozy, qui se pensait en 2007 réconciliateur volontariste possible des deux parties; l'Union européenne, gros pourvoyeur d'aide, mais « petit bras » politique; le Quartet et son communicateur de représentant, M.Blair). Après le 11 septembre, les sept années de politique du « Greater Middle-East » du président G.W.Bush et des néo-conservateurs, idéologues tenants d'une démocratisation par la force de la région dont l'expédition irakienne avait été l'acmée, avaient déstabilisé plus encore, et profondément traumatisé, le monde arabo-musulman. Le mandat du président Obama avait commencé par des gestes symboliques forts, et des promesses dont on attendait beaucoup 2. Il a d'emblée affirmé la volonté de réconcilier les Etats-Unis avec le monde arabe et avec le monde musulman; de sortir et de la logique du « choc des civilisations », et des conflits ouverts (Irak, Afghanistan); d'arriver à la paix au Proche-Orient; de régler la crise iranienne en renouant, sans conditionnalité préalable, les discussions avec Téhéran sur le volet nucléaire. Le discours du Caire, le 5 juin 2009, avait été un moment fort, qui avait fait l'objet d'une bonne, voire très bonne, réception dans le monde arabe et musulman, et auprès d'une majorité de Palestiniens (y compris, rappelons-le, du côté du Hamas). En regard, sa dénonciation anticipée par Oussama Ben Laden, et sa vitupération par le Guide suprême iranien Ali Khamenei, sont apparues comme des fausses notes tellement prévisibles qu'elles en étaient peu signifiantes.


Mais, dès ce moment-là, sur la question israélo-palestinienne, le discours du Caire n'avait pas suffi à dissiper un malaise initial diffus, mais persistant, né du silence du candidat élu, puis du président investi, sur l'opération de guerre israélienne « Plomb durçi » à Gaza (décembre 2008-janvier 2009). Or, les bonnes intentions du président Obama, appuyées sur les innombrables navettes de son envoyé spécial George Mitchell (qui, découragé, démissionnera en mai 2011), n'ont pas réussi à faire bouger les lignes. Il est quelque peu surréaliste d'entendre, à l'occasion du dépôt de la candidature palestinienne entre les mains du secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki Moon, et du discours du président de l'Autorité palestinienne devant l'Assemblée générale ce vendredi 23 septembre, certains commentateurs israéliens et américains accabler Mahmoud Abbas, et le rendre « responsable de l'échec des négociations de paix ». Encore aurait-il fallu qu'il y ait eu, du côté d'un gouvernement israélien associant une droite butée et une extrême-droite radicale et raciste, une quelconque volonté de mener des négociations, et d'interrompre, ne serait-ce qu'une seule journée, un processus de colonisation qui affaiblit quotidiennent la possibilité d'établir un jour un Etat palestinien viable. Les documents des négcciateurs palestiniens révélés au printemps par la chaîne quatariote al-Jazeera (que l'on a soupçonnée, à cette occasion, de « rouler » pour le Hamas en affaiblissant plus encore, si besoin était, l'Autorité palestinienne), et les télégrammes diplomatiques américains publiés par Wikileaks, attestent, au contraire, que jamais un dirigeant palestinien (et son équipe de négociateurs) n'a fait autant de concessions à Israël que Mahmoud Abbas. Certains analystes se sont même demandé si ce dernier n'avait pas tout lâché dès le départ, pour obtenir la relance du « processus de paix »: côté palestinien, et y compris au sein de l'OLP, son organisation d'appartenance, Abu Mazen a été allègrement qualifié de « traître à la cause palestinienne » pour son discours pacifiste, et ses concessions préalables sans condition sur tous les dossiers sensibles de la négociation.


Deux ans après le discours du Caire (juin 2009), un an après le discours du président américain devant l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU (septembre 2010), appelant à la création d'un Etat palestinien en 2011, on mesure aujourd'hui l'ampleur de ce qu'on peut qualifier d'échec majeur de Barack Obama. Il n'aura pas réussi, plus que ses prédécesseurs, à débloquer le dossier, à obtenir des Israéliens qu'ils interrompent la colonisation à Jérusalem-Est et en Cisjordanie, et que les deux parties se remettent autour d'une table. Le président Obama a donné ces derniers mois l'image d'un président littéralement otage du premier ministre israélien Benyamin Nétanyahou, y compris quand il le faisait entrer et sortir de la Maison Blanche pratiquement par une porte dérobée 3. Le discours du président Obama au Département d'Etat à Washington le 19 mai dernier le laissait prévoir, qui avait vu le président pris de haut dès le lendemain à la Maison Blanche par un premier ministre israélien triomphalement accueilli au Congrès le 24 mai 4. Le discours du 21 septembre 2011 l'a confirmé. Obama a longuement développé son "inébranlable soutien à Israël", le légitimant par l'histoire et par le présent. S'il a évoqué les horreurs de l'Holocauste pour justifier les préoccupations légitimes de sécurité de l'Israël contemporain, il n'a pas fait mention des colonies et de la colonisation: l'arrêt de "la colonisation, illégitime" était pourtant au début de son mandat LA condition posée par Washington à Israël, avant d'être abandonnée comme manifestation de la bonne volonté américaine à l'égard de l'Etat hébreu. Ce déclarant et ce faisant, le président Obama a perdu une large partie de sa crédibilité en tant que médiateur objectif entre les deux parties. Il s'est redéclaré opposé, à la tribune de l'ONU, non seulement à l'attribution du statut d'Etat membre à la Palestine, mais même au statut d'Etat observateur. Il a ensuite souligné qu'il n'y avait « pas  raccourci pour la paix », rappelé l'exemple de l''Irlande du Nord, et la nécessité pour chacune des parties de « mettre ses pas dans ceux de l'autre partie (...). Le projet de l'Amérique est de faire s'asseoir les deux parties », pour qu'elles s'écoutent et qu'elles négocient. Et de conclure que « c'est cela que les Nations Unies devraient avoir comme projet dans les semaines et les mois qui viennent. » Il n'a pas convaincu l'auditoire (il n'y a pas eu une seule interruption par des applaudissements, en contraste spectaculaire avec les prises de parole en 2009, et même en 2010), dont ni le président Sarkozy, ni le ministre des Affaires étrangères Alain Juppé ne faisaient partie sur les bancs de la France. En revanche, les félicitations adressées par le premier ministre israélien au président Obama ont bien manifesté la satisfaction de Jérusalem, qui n'en attendait peut-être pas tant de la part d'un dirigeant américain qui a, à plusieurs reprises, signifié le peu d'affinités qu'il avait pour B.Netanyahu. On remarquera, d'autre part, que si les militants palestiniens n'ont pas caché leur déception, voire leur colère, les dirigeants arabes, anciens ou nouveaux, sont restés d'une remarquable discrètion officielle. 


Les raisons de politique intérieure américaine qui expliquent en très large partie le choix israélien du président Obama ne sont pas notre propos ici 5. Constatons que ce qui était peut-être « LE grand dessein » d'Obama en politique internationale a échoué, et qu'on est bien loin de l'enthousiasme pour le prix Nobel de la Paix 2009. Relevons également que cet échec pourrait d'ailleurs être aussi, comme le souligne Julien Salingue dans ses analyses récentes, celui de l'actuelle direction palestinienne, dans son choix d'un projet bi-étatique négocié avec Israël sous l'égide des Etats-Unis 6.


Les semaines et les mois qui viennent permettront peut-être de vérifier si le discours du président Mahmoud Abbas devant l'Assemblée générale, et le soutien d'environ 130 Etats sur les 193 Etats membres, permettront de passer outre, sinon un veto américain, du moins une minorité suffisante pour bloquer sans veto la reconnaissance au sein du Conseil de sécurité7. Dans le cas d'espèce, une minorité hostile associant les Etats-Unis, quelques Etats européens, africains et latino-américains, aurait l'avantage, pour Washington, de ne pas avoir besoin de recourir au veto; et offrirait, à travers l'attribution à la Palestine du statut d'Etat observateur (comparable à celui du Vatican), une « fenêtre d'opportunité » théorique pour une relance d'éventuelles négociations, sur la base de propositions comme celles de Nicolas Sarkozy ou du Quartet. On nous permettra de penser que le risque est plus vraisemblable d'une fausse relance de négociations sans recherche de la paix...



NOTES

1  Concernant le titre de notre chronique, l'historien se doit d'être rigoureux dans ses citations. Après l'explosion d'un réservoir de son vaisseau spatial, la véritable formule prononcée le 14 avril 1970 par Jack Swigert, commandant de bord de la mission Appolo 13 a été: « Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here... ». Mais elle est passée dans la mémoire mondiale sous la forme: « Houston, we've got a problem... », d'autant qu'un téléfilm à succès a peu après contribué à la populariser ainsi.

2   Les principales références sont le discours d'investiture du 20 janvier 2009; les « bons vœux » et la « main tendue » du nouvel an kurdo-iranien (Nowrouz) le 21 mars; la visite en Turquie et le discours d'Ankara en avril; et surtout le grand discours en direction du monde musulman à l'Université du Caire le 5 juin 2009 (dit: « Towards a new beginning »).

3  La revue de la presse israélienne des 21-23 septembre est éloquente dans les qualificatifs quasi unanimement appliqués au président américain: « le meilleur ambassadeur d'Israël aux Nations-Unies »; « un discours qui aurait pu être envoyé par fax du bureau de Netanyahu », etc. La couverture du New York Magazine du 26 septembre 2011 (ci-dessous) a été relevée et commentée par de nombreux éditorialistes: http://nymag.com/nymag/toc/20110926/.

La séquence de mai 2011 : 1er mai: mort de Ben Laden; 19 mai: discours d'Obama sur le Moyen-Orient au Département d'Etat (dit: « A Moment of Opportunity in the Middle East & Northern Africa”); 20 mai: réception de B.Netanyahou à la Maison Blanche; 22 mai: discours d'Obama devant le lobby juif pro-israélien de l'AIPAC; 24 mai: discours de B.Netanyahou devant le Congrès américain.

5 Que ce soit dans les élections partielles des Représentants, ou dans la perspective des prochaines élections présidentielles, le parti républicain ne cesse d'attaquer les candidats démocrates et le président Obama sur leur « faiblesse » supposée au profit des Palestiniens. Du coup, l'électorat juif, traditionnellement démocrate, tend à glisser vers les Républicains. Lesquels sont de plus en plus influencés par la droite évangélique, devenue très pro-israélienne. Dans le paysage des lobbies juifs pro-israéliens, qui tend à se diversifier ces dernières années, les soutiens à la politique du gouvernement Netanyahu sont très majoritaires (c'est le cas du principal d'entre eux, l'AIPAC, devant lequel le président Obama est intervenu le 22 mai 2011). Les majorités obtenues chez les représentants comme chez les sénateurs pour les textes soutenant Israël sont très impressionnantes. Cf. MEARSHEIMER John, WALT Stephen (University of Chicago), The Israeli Lobby and the US Foreign Policy, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007, 496p. (l'ouvrage a fait l'objet de polémiques virulentes aux Etats-Unis)

6 Voir Julien Salingue, Le scrutin à l'ONU sonne le glas des espoirs palestiniens, Le Monde du 21 septembre 2011; et sur son blog, par ex.: http://www.juliensalingue.fr/pages/Lista-540151.html

7 Pour qu'un Etat soit accepté par le conseil de sécurité, il faut -outre une absence de veto d'un des 5 membres permanents- au moins 9 votes favorables sur les 15 membres.



La couverture du New York Magazine du 26 septembre 2011



Sources: Texte du discours du président Obama, et revue de presse internationale



THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/21/remarks-president-obama-address-united-nations-general-assembly

EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY   September 21, 2011

 

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery

Address to the United Nations General Assembly

New York City

September 21, 2011

 

As Prepared for Delivery –

 " Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations – the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world.

 War and conflict have been with us since the beginning of civilization. But in the first part of the 20th century, the advance of modern weaponry led to death on a staggering scale. It was this killing that compelled the founders of this body to build an institution that was focused not just on ending one war, but on averting others; a union of sovereign states that would seek to prevent conflict, while also addressing its causes. 

No American did more to pursue this objective than President Franklin Roosevelt. He knew that a victory in war was not enough. As he said at one of the very first meetings on the founding of the United Nations, “We have got to make, not merely a peace, but a peace that will last.”

The men and women who built this institution understood that peace is more than the absence of war. A lasting peace – for nations and individuals – depends upon a sense of justice and opportunity; of dignity and freedom. It depends upon struggle and sacrifice; on compromise, and a sense of common humanity.

One delegate to the San Francisco Conference that led to the creation of United Nations put it well – “Many people,” she said, “have talked as if all we had to do to get peace was…to say loudly and frequently that we loved peace and hated war. Now we have learned that no matter how much we love peace and hate war, we cannot avoid having war brought upon us if there are convulsions in other parts of the world.”  

The fact is, peace is hard, but our people demand it. Over nearly seven decades, even as the United Nations helped avert a third World War, we still live in a world scarred by conflict and plagued by poverty. Even as we proclaim our love for peace and hatred of war, there are convulsions in our world that endanger us all.

I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place – Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization – remained at large. Today, we have set a new direction.

At the end of this year, America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations. That equal partnership will be strengthened by our support for Iraq – for its government and Security Forces; for its people and their aspirations. 

As we end the war in Iraq, the United States and our coalition partners have begun a transition in Afghanistan. Between now and 2014, an increasingly capable Afghan government and Security Forces will step forward to take responsibility for the future of their country. As they do, we are drawing down our own forces, while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan people.

So let there be no doubt: the tide of war is receding.  When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical to the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home.

Moreover, we are poised to end these wars from a position of strength. Ten years ago, there was an open wound of twisted steel and broken hearts in this city. Today, as a new tower rising at Ground Zero symbolizes New York’s renewal, al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded. And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.

Yes, this has been a difficult decade. But today, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The UN’s Founding Charter calls upon us, “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” And Article 1 of this General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ Those bedrock beliefs – in the responsibility of states, and the rights of men and women – must be our guide.

In that effort, we have reason to hope. This year has been a time of transformation.  More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.

One year ago, when we met here in New York, the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt. But the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination. And last summer, as a new flag went up in Juba, former soldiers laid down their arms; men and women wept with joy; and children finally knew the promise of looking to a future that they will shape.

One year ago, the people of Cote D’Ivoire approached a landmark election. And when the incumbent lost, and refused to respect the results, the world refused to look the other way. UN peacekeepers were harassed, but did not leave their posts. The Security Council, led by the United States, Nigeria, and France, came together to support the will of the people. And Cote D’Ivoire is now governed by the man who was elected to lead.

 One year ago, the hopes of the people of Tunisia were suppressed. But they chose the dignity of peaceful protest over the rule of an iron fist. A vendor lit a spark that took his own life, but ignited a movement. In the face of a crackdown, students spelled out the word freedom. The balance of fear shifted from the ruler to those that he ruled. Now the people of Tunisia are preparing for elections that will move them one step closer to the democracy they deserve. 

 One year ago, Egypt had known one President for nearly thirty years. But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were on Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life – men and women; young and old; Muslim and Christian – demanded their universal rights. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw; from Selma to South Africa – and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab World.

One year ago, the people of Libya were ruled by the world’s longest serving dictator. But faced with bullets and bombs and a dictator who threatened to hunt them down like rats, they showed relentless bravery. We will never forget the words of the Libyan who stood up in those early days of revolution and said, “Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”

Day after day, in the face of bullets and bombs, the Libyan people refused to give back that freedom. And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century, the United Nations lived up to its charter. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre.  The Arab League called for this effort, and Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qadhafi’s forces in their tracks.

In the months that followed, the will of the coalition proved unbreakable, and the will of the Libyan people could not be denied. Forty-two years of tyranny was ended in six months.  From Tripoli to Misratah to Benghazi – today, Libya is free.  Yesterday, the leaders of a new Libya took their rightful place beside us, and this week, the United States is reopening our Embassy in Tripoli. This is how the international community is supposed to work – nations standing together for the sake of peace and security; individuals claiming their rights. Now, all of us have a responsibility to support the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans.

So it has been a remarkable year. The Qadhafi regime is over. Gbagbo, Ben Ali, and Mubarak are no longer in power. Osama bin Laden is gone, and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him. Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way they will be. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. Technology is putting power in the hands of the people. The youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and rejecting the lie that some races, religions and ethnicities do not desire democracy. The promise written down on paper – “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – is closer at hand.

But let us remember: peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart. The measure of  our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom, dignity, and security. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations.

 In Iran, we have seen a government that refuses to recognize the rights of its own people. And as we meet here today, men, women and children are being tortured, detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. Thousands have been killed, many during the holy time of Ramadan. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders. The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice – protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. The question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors?

Already, the United States has imposed strong sanctions on Syria’s leaders. We have supported a transfer of power that is responsive to the Syrian people. Many of our allies have joined us in this effort. But for the sake of Syria – and the peace and security of the world – we must speak with one voice. There is no excuse for inaction. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime, and to stand with the Syrian people.

Throughout the region, we will have to respond to the calls for change. In Yemen, men, women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. America supports their aspirations. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh, and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.

In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability, but more are required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc – the Wifaq – to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. And we believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart.

Each nation must chart its own course to fulfill the aspirations of its people, and America does not expect to agree with every party or person who expresses themselves politically. But we will always stand up for the universal rights that were embraced by this Assembly. Those rights depend upon elections that are free and fair; governance that is transparent and accountable; respect for the rights of women and minorities; and justice that is equal and fair. That is what our people deserve. Those are elements of a peace that lasts.  

 Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy – with greater trade and investment, so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also civil society – students and entrepreneurs; political parties and the press. We have banned those who abuse human rights from travelling to our country, and sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who have been silenced.

Now I know that for many in this hall, one issue stands as a test for these principles – and for American foreign policy: the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

One year ago, I stood at this podium and called for an independent Palestine. I believed then – and I believe now – that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that genuine peace can only be realized between Israelis and Palestinians themselves. One year later, despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences. Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May. That basis is clear, and well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.

I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. So am I. But the question isn’t the goal we seek – the question is how to reach it. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the UN – if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.

Peace depends upon compromise among peoples who must live together long after our speeches are over, and our votes have been counted. That is the lesson of Northern Ireland, where ancient antagonists bridged their differences. That is the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is the path to a Palestinian state. 

 We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own, with no limit to what they can achieve. There is no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. And it is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and effort in the building of a Palestinian state, and the negotiations that can achieve one.

America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable, and our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day. Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, looks out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile, persecution, and the fresh memory of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they were.

 These facts cannot be denied. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.

 That truth – that each side has legitimate aspirations – is what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes. That’s what we should be encouraging. This body – founded, as it was, out of the ashes of war and genocide; dedicated, as it is, to the dignity of every person – must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis.  The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live in peace and security, with dignity and opportunity. We will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down together, to listen to each other, and to understand each other’s hopes and fears. That is the project to which America is committed. And that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come.

 Now, even as we confront these challenges of conflict and revolution, we must also recognize once more that peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends upon creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. And to do that, we must confront the common enemies of human beings: nuclear weapons and poverty; ignorance and disease. These forces corrode the possibility of lasting peace, and together we are called upon to confront them.

To lift the specter of mass destruction, we must come together to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Over the last two years, we have begun to walk down that path. Since our Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, nearly 50 nations have taken steps to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and smugglers. Next March, a Summit in Seoul will advance our efforts to lock down all of them. The New START Treaty between the United States and Russia will cut our deployed arsenals to the lowest level in a half century, and our nations are pursuing talks on how to achieve deeper reductions. America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons, and the production of fissile material needed to make them.

 As we meet our obligations, we have strengthened the treaties and institutions that help stop the spread of these weapons. To do so, we must continue to hold accountable those nations that flout them. The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful, has not met its obligations, and rejected offers that would provide it with peaceful nuclear power. North Korea has yet to take concrete steps toward abandoning its weapons, and continues belligerent actions against the South. There is a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their obligations. But if they continue down a path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation. That is what our commitment to peace demands.

To bring prosperity to our people, we must promote the growth that creates opportunity. In this effort, let us not forget that we have made enormous progress over the last several decades. Closed societies gave way to open markets. Innovation and entrepreneurship has transformed the way we live and the things that we can do. Emerging economies from Asia to the Americas have lifted hundreds of millions from poverty. Yet three years ago, we confronted the worst financial crisis in eight decades.  That crisis proved a fact that has become clearer with each passing year – our fate is interconnected; in a global economy, nations will rise, or fall, together.

Today, we confront the challenges that have followed that crisis. Recovery is fragile. Markets are volatile. Too many people are out of work. Too many others are struggling to get by. We acted together to avert a Depression in 2009. We must take urgent and coordinated action once more. Here in the United States, I have announced a plan to put Americans back to work and jumpstart our economy, and committed to substantially reduce our deficit over time. We stand with our European allies as they reshape their institutions and address their own fiscal challenge. For other countries, leaders face a different challenge as they shift their economies towards more self-reliance, boosting domestic demand while slowing inflation.  So we will work with emerging economies that have rebounded strongly, so that rising standards of living create new markets that promote global growth. That is what our commitment to prosperity demands.

To combat the poverty that punishes our children, we must act on the belief that freedom from want is a basic human right. The United States has made it a focus of our engagement abroad to help people to feed themselves. And today, as drought and conflict have brought famine to the Horn of Africa, our conscience calls on us to act. Together, we must continue to provide assistance, and support organizations that can reach those in need. And together, we must insist on unrestricted humanitarian access so that we can save the lives of thousands of men, women and children. Our common humanity is at stake. Let us show that the life of a child in Somalia is as precious as any other. That is what our commitment to our fellow human beings demands. 

To stop disease that spreads across borders, we must strengthen our systems of public health. We will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We will focus on the health of mothers and children. And we must come together to prevent, detect, and fight every kind of biological danger – whether it is a pandemic like H1N1, a terrorist threat, or a treatable disease.  This week, America signed an agreement with the World Health Organization to affirm our commitment to meet this challenge. Today, I urge all nations to join us in meeting the WHO’s goal of making sure all nations have core capacities to address public health emergencies in place by 2012. That is what our commitment to the health of our people demands.

To preserve our planet, we must not put off the action that a changing climate demands. We must tap the power of science to save those resources that are scarce. Together, we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun, so that all of the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made. Together, we must work to transform the energy that powers are economies, and support others as they move down that path. That is what our commitment to the next generation demands.

And to make sure our societies reach their potential, we must allow our citizens to reach theirs. No country can afford the cancer of corruption. Together, we must harness the power of open societies and open economies. That is why we have partnered with countries from across the globe to launch a new partnership on Open Government that helps ensure accountability and empower their citizens. No country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere. And no country can realize its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs. This week, the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. That is what our commitment to human progress demands.

 I know that there is no straight line to progress, no single path to success. We come from different cultures, and carry with us different histories. But let us never forget that even as we gather here as heads of different governments, we represent citizens who share the same basic aspirations – to live with dignity and freedom; to get an education and pursue opportunity; to love our families and our God. To live in the kind of peace that makes life worth living.

 It is the nature of our imperfect world that we are forced to learn this lesson over and over again. Conflict and repression will endure so long as some people refuse to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Yet that is precisely why we have built institutions like this that bind our fates together – because those who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war; freedom is preferable to suppression; and prosperity is preferable to poverty. That is the message that comes not from capitals, but from citizens.

When the corner-stone of this very building was put in place, President Truman came here to New York and said, “The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of man’s aspirations.” As we live in a world that is changing at a breathtaking pace, that is a lesson that we must never forget.

Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible. Together, let us resolve to see that it is defined by our hopes and not our fears. Together, let us work to make, not merely a peace, but a peace that will last. Thank you.  "

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