June 4, 2009
CAIRO, EGYPT- President Barack Obama took a step away from decades-old US foreign policy by questioning the right of Israel to exist.
"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements" on the West bank or around Jerusalem, the President stated today. "It is time for these settlements to stop."
The President went on to state that Israelis must realize that the United States cannot simply "point fingers," stating that Israelis cannot simply point to the hostilities they have been met with by their neighbors. Instead, the President states that Israel must realize "the displacement brought about by Israel's founding."
Later in the speech, President Obama quoted from the holy Koran, saying, "Let there be no doubt, Islam is part of America." He continued later, ""Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism."
President Obama compared Palestine's existence to slavery in the United States, stating, "Palestinians must focus on what they can build... Palestine's right to existence cannot be denied... Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensue Palestinians can live and work and develop their society."
This speech comes at a time were President Obama has been criticized for his proposal of "two-party" negotiation between Israel and Palestine. Instead, the President seemed to be pushing a three-party strategy, which includes Israel, Palestine, and the United States, and aimed at an ultimate goal of shrinking Israel's power.
Obama's statement that Israel's settlements "undermines efforts to achieve peace" was met with applause by the crowd in attendance.
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