President Obama, hoping head off a diplomatic showdown at the United Nations, reiterated the U.S. position that peace talks were the Palestinians' only hope for statehood.
"I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades," the president told General Assembly delegates Wednesday.
"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.," he said. "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."
The president closed his address by acknowledging that a tough road lay ahead for the world, including the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
"Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible," he said. "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."
Watch President Obama's complete address to the United Nations.
Following his speech before the General Assembly Friday, the president will hold separate individual meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he tries to get them back together for peace talks.
Obama is expected to ask Abbas to drop the move for statehood recognition after Abbas delivers a formal letter of intent to the U.N. on Friday.
Israel opposes the move and U.S. officials say there is nothing they can do to prevent Abbas from asking the council for Palestinian membership. The U.S. will veto the request.
White House officials say a resumption of the peace talks is the Palestinians' best hope for statehood.
Jordon Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice gives reaction to President Obama's speech.
"At the end of the day, peace is going to have to be made between the parties, that it can't be imposed from the outside, that it can't be accomplished through actions at United Nations," said Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security advisor.