Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu board a plane ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York.
(photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged that the Palestinians were abusing the sanctity of the Temple Mount to incite the Arab world against Israel, moments before he boarded an airplane Tuesday for New York where he plans to address the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
“Israel desires peace with the Palestinians who, to my regret, are continuing to spread gross lies about our policy on the Temple Mount,” said Netanyahu.
“I will demand a halt to this wild incitement,” he added. Although the eyes of the international community are focused on Iran, Syria and ISIS, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu plan to speak about the stalled peace process when they address the plenum in separate speeches on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
The Quartet will be also be meeting in New York on Wednesday to discuss ways to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process which has been frozen since April 2014. Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis have been particularly high during the holiday period, which has been marked by clashes on the Temple Mount, including on Sunday and Monday.
Since the site was closed to Jewish visitors at the time, Israel has since explained that the reasoning is clearly not the issue of whether Jews should be able to enter the area.
Palestinians have warned that Israel is attempting to change the status quo in the Temple Mount compound that houses the Al-Aksa Mosque and is under the authority of the Islamic Wakf.
“Israel is committed to the status quo; Israel is maintaining the status quo. It is the Palestinian rioters who are bringing war materiel, pipebombs and fireworks onto the Temple Mount who are harming the sanctity of the place and it is they who are violating the status quo,” Netanyahu said.
In addition to the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Netanyahu also plans to speak against the deal that was agreed upon in July between Tehran and the six world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
Israel believes the deal legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program, leaves it with the ability to produce atomic weapons and strengthens its ability to attack Israel and engage in global terror.
“The world needs to know what the citizens of Israel feel about the nuclear agreement with Iran and what we expect from the international community in the wake of this agreement,” Netanyahu said.
He added that he would also speak about Israel’s policy with regard to Syria and the dangers Israel faces on its borders. On Friday, Netanyahu said, he plans to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss ways to provide Israel with additional security. They will also talk about the stalled peace process.
Netanyahu said that each time he addresses the UN, “I feel the privilege and great honor of telling the truth before the world on behalf of the citizens of Israel.”
“With every passing day it is clear that within the collapsing Middle East Islamic extremists are capturing more and more territory,” he said.
In the midst of such a region, “Israel is an island of progress and stability,” Netanyahu said.
He added that he would speak about all these things in his UNGA address on Thursday and his meetings in the US.