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Obama, Ban Ki-Moon Praise Each Other, Push Again for Two-State Solution

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JERUSALEM, Israel – President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon lauded one another at Tuesday's annual luncheon for world leaders attending the U.N. General Assembly.

Obama said Ban's leadership has made the world a "better place," while the secretary general praised the president for upholding the U.N. and America's "shared values."

Nowhere are those "shared values" more obvious than in their respective assessments of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which they both spoke of in their final speeches to the General Assembly Tuesday afternoon.

While Obama referred to terrorism as "incitement" and intimated Israelis have no right to "occupy…Palestinian land," Ban bemoaned "10 years lost to peace."

"Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land," Obama opined.

Ban, calling himself a friend of Israelis and Palestinians, said he was pained by a decade lost to peace and "illegal settlement expansion."

Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon called Ban's routine condemnation of Israel "distorted."

"Instead of directly condemning Hamas for building tunnels and a terrorist infrastructure, instead of investing resources in stopping Palestinian incitement and terrorism, the secretary general has chosen to regularly condemn Israel," he said.

Meanwhile in Israel, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas sent a condolence letter to the family of Saeed Amro, a Jordanian national killed by Israeli border police in Jerusalem last Friday as he attempted to stab Israeli citizens and soldiers outside the Old City's Damascus Gate.

In the letter, Abbas called the 28-year-old attacker "a martyr who has quenched the land of Palestine with his pure blood."

Brandishing knives in both hands, Amro shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is greater) as he lunged at people walking along the street.

Senior P.A. official Hanan Ashwari accused Israel of pursuing "a systematic and willful policy of summary executions against the Palestinian people," saying "such provocative acts are in direct violation of international law and conventions."

She called on the international community "to engage rapidly and effectively before it is too late."

In Washington, a bipartisan group of 88 senators signed a letter to Obama urging him to continue U.S. policy of vetoing U.N. resolutions targeting Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Sens. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., quoted Obama's 2011 U.N. speech in which he said "peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations."

"Your administration has consistently upheld the long-standing U.S. policy of opposing – and of necessary vetoing – one-sided U.N. Security Council resolutions," the letter stated.

"We urge you to continue this long-standing U.S. policy and it make it clear that you will veto any one-sided U.N. Security Council resolution that may be offered in the coming months. Any such resolution, whether focused on settlements or other final status issues will ultimately make it more difficult for Israelis and Palestinians to resolve the conflict," the letter concluded.

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About The Author


From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow tries to provide a bird's eye view of events unfolding in her country. Tzippe's parents were born to Russian Jewish immigrants, who fled the czar's pogroms to make a new life in America. As a teenager, Tzippe wanted to spend a summer in Israel, but her parents, sensing the very real possibility that she might want to live there, sent her and her sister to Switzerland instead. Twenty years later, the Lord opened the door to visit the ancient homeland of her people.