(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly on
Friday, saying that despite popular perception, Israel and he himself want
peace, but that peace "must be anchored in security" and cannot be
forged by UN resolutions.
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Netanyahu's speech came less than an hour after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the assembly, announcing that he had officially submitted a request for full membership of a Palestinian state at the UN.
"Palestinians want a state without peace," Netanyahu stated, telling the assembled diplomats, "You should not let that happen."
Netanyahu called on Abbas to renew peace talks immediately, "today at the United Nations."
"If we genuinely want peace, what is there to stop us," Netanyahu asked Abbas.
"With God's help let's find the common ground for peace. I can't make peace without you," Netanyahu said during his address.
Netanyahu criticized what he characterized as the hypocrisy of the United Nations, noting that
the UN Security Council is now headed by Lebanon, which is controlled by
Hezbollah - a group considered a terrorist organization by the United
States, Israel, and the European Union.
The UN, Netanyahu said, denounces Israel more than any other nation.
The prime minister called comments by PA officials that Jews would not
be allowed in a future Palestinian state, "ethnic cleansing."
He called laws in Ramallah making the selling of land to Jews punishable by death, "racism."
The prime minister stated that Palestinians should "give up the fantasy
of flooding Israel" with millions of refugees, saying that he did not
want Palestinians to try and change the Jewish character of the state.
Netanyahu also called for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
"Every nation represented here should request his release," Netanyahu declared to applause.
"If you want to pass a resolution about the Middle East today, that's the resolution you should pass," the prime minister said.