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Committed to a Just and Lasting Peace in the Middle East
Thank you for your petition about the Palestinian application for membership status in the United Nations. As President Obama said during his March 21 visit to Ramallah, "The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it. Palestinians deserve to move and travel freely, and to feel secure in their communities. Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope -- that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity. Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own." Precisely because we believe so strongly in the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, the United States has invested tremendous time, effort, and resources in support of the Palestinian Authority’s state-building efforts.
It is because of our profound commitment to a just and lasting peace based on a negotiated two-state solution that the United States does not support any unilateral actions in international bodies or treaties outside the framework of negotiations between the parties. We oppose all unilateral actions that complicate the effort to resume direct, bilateral negotiations. We take this position because we believe that direct negotiations are the only way for the parties to produce an outcome that leaders and ordinary citizens alike can support -- a solution that Israelis and Palestinians themselves can be satisfied meets the legitimate needs of both sides for peace and security. As the President said in his September 2011 address to the UN General Assembly, "Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations -- if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem." We stand ready, together with our international partners, to help the parties return to the negotiating table and to peacemaking.