Israeli-US cooperation over the past four months has been better than any other
time since President Barack Obama came into office in January 2009, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Likud ministers at a meeting on
Netanyahu, according to one source at the meeting, said that
diplomatic coordination with Washington has “been excellent” in the run-up to
the UN General Assembly meeting this week and the Palestinian Authority’s move
to go to the Security Council and seek full UN membership.
The truth is that Israel wants peace and the truth is
that the Palestinians are doing everything to torpedo direct peace negotiations.
They have ignored every proposal that I have made,
in my Knesset speech, in my speech at Bar Ilan University, and in my speech to the US Congress.
They have avoided coming to direct negotiations after this government
made an unprecedented decision to freeze new construction in the settlements.
For ten months, they simply were unwilling to come and negotiate.
They need to understand that, despite their current attempt to again circumvent the negotiations
by going to the UN, peace will be achieved only through direct negotiations.
Their attempt to be accepted as a member of the UN will fail.
The Palestinians' attempt will fail because it has to go through... (interruption)
The Palestinians' attempt to be accepted as a member of the UN is what they declared – one year ago – as their objective;
this is what Abu Mazen recently declared as a goal. This attempt will fail.
It will fail because it must go through the UN Security Council. Decisions that are binding on UN members pass through the Security Council.
I am convinced that the activity of the US, which is deeply cooperating with us,
as well as the activity of other governments with which we are also cooperating, will result in the failure of this attempt.
The UN also has the General Assembly in which almost any decision can be passed.
It is possible to decide there that the sun rises in the West and sets in the East,
and this would pass there. But it has neither the same weight nor the same importance.
This is not the Palestinians' declared goal.
Palestinians were surprised by the level of opposition
they had come up against
from the US to their UN gambit, the prime minister said.
Israel was not –
as many believe – isolated in North America, Europe, Africa or
Latin America, he
Still, diplomatic officials said US attempts to avoid having to use
its veto in the UN Security Council by getting seven states on the 15-member
body to either vote against or abstain on a Palestinian statehood resolution
remained a long shot.RELATED:
Abbas: We're going to the UN to demand full
Quartet envoys to meet in New York
The Palestinian resolution will fail if one of the
five permanent members – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – casts its
veto and votes against the resolution, or if the resolution does not muster
support from at least nine countries.
Among the countries still in play
on the Security Council, according to Israeli officials, are Britain, France,
Germany, Portugal, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon and Nigeria.
countries who are expected to vote for the resolution are India, Brazil, South
Africa, Lebanon, China and Russia.
The US has made clear it will cast its
veto, but is lobbying intensively in the Security Council to ensure that it
doesn’t have to.
One Israeli official, however, said it was unlikely the
US would convince enough states on the Council to block the motion, simply
because the other countries – even if opposed to the move because of concern
that it could stymie the diplomatic process for years – know that since the US
won’t let it pass, they might as well win points with the Arab and nonaligned
world by voting for a declaration that will surely be extreme popular on the Arab street.
as the US was intensively lobbying the other Security Council members, envoys
from the Quartet – the US, EU, Russia and UN – met in New York to continue
trying to put together a formula that would enable restarting
The formula being discussed now is similar to the one that
the Quartet could not reach agreement on in July: namely, that in return for an
Israeli agreement, with reservations, to go to negotiations on the basis of the
June 4, 1967, lines, with agreed-upon land swaps, the Palestinians would
recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
If Sunday evening’s Quartet meeting
makes progress, then the Quartet principals – US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov and UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon – would be expected to meet in
the next day or two and hammer out a deal.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak,
one of six cabinet ministers who will pass through New York this week to lobby
against the PA move, met in the city on Sunday with PA Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad, who has spoken out in the past against the Palestinian
Likud ministers and MKs called upon Netanyahu not to make
concessions, speaking at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast hosted by Vice Premier Silvan
Shalom at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on Sunday.
“Netanyahu should stand
strong for the Likud ideology and the principles we believe in,” Shalom said.
“When he goes to New York, he represents all of us and the majority of the
people in Israel who demand that he maintain all of the land and protect
Israel’s vital interests.
Only a government faithful to its principles
and will not zigzag will get the support of the world, and respect from the
entire Arab world. If we go on this path, we will be able to stop the
Palestinian bid in the UN.”
Meanwhile, Netanyahu said unequivocally at
the weekly cabinet meeting that the Palestinian “attempt to be accepted as a
member of the UN will fail.
The Palestinians’ attempt to be accepted as a
member of the UN is what they declared – one year ago – as their objective; this
is what Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] recently declared as a goal. This
attempt will fail.
“It will fail because it must go through the UN
Security Council. Decisions that are binding on UN members pass through the
Security Council. I am convinced that the activity of the US, which is deeply
cooperating with us, as well as the activity of other governments with which we
are also cooperating, will result in the failure of this attempt.”
same time, Netanyahu also said it was clear that the proposal – blocked in the
Security Council – would pass in the General Assembly, but this “has neither the
same weight nor the same importance” as a Security Council resolution. As a
result of efforts coordinated with the US and other “important countries,” it
was not even clear the Palestinians will get whatever they want from the General
Assembly either, he said.
The prime minister, who deliberated for weeks
before announcing on Thursday that he would represent Israel at the UN parley,
said, “The UN is not a place where Israel wins praise, but I think that it is
important that I go there in order to represent both the State of Israel and the
truth – and the truth is that Israel wants peace, and the truth is that the
Palestinians are doing everything to torpedo direct peace
Netanyahu, who said that the Palestinians had ignored all
initiatives he had taken to push the process forward, including last year’s
10-month settlement construction freeze, reiterated his position that despite
the “current attempt to again overturn the negotiations by going to the UN,
peace will be achieved only through direct negotiations.
“My UN trip will
have a double goal,” he said. “The first goal is to ensure that this move to
bypass negotiations does not succeed and is stopped in the Security Council. I
think that this is, to a great extent, an achievable objective. The second goal
is to address the General Assembly and present our truth and – in my opinion –
the general truth, which is our desire for peace.”
The prime minister
said his government was “ready to enter into peace negotiations with our
Palestinian neighbors, if they so desire. In my opinion, after the dust settles
and after everything that is happening at the UN, in the end, the Palestinians –
I hope – will come to their senses and will shelve these moves that are designed
to bypass negotiations. They will return to the table in order to achieve
peace and security both for us and our neighbors.”
The prime minister,
who will be addressing the General Assembly for the second time since taking
office in 2009, said he would say “loud and clear” that Jews were not
interlopers in Israel, and had rights that went back “‘only’ 4,000
Netanyahu’s first speech to the UN during this tenure came just
days after the release of the UN’s Goldstone Committee report in 2009 that
lambasted Israel for Operation Cast Lead, and his speech then pushed back hard
against that document. He also focused on the Iranian nuclear
This time, however, Netanyahu’s speech – which will go through
numerous drafts before the prime minister delivers it in New York on Friday –
will focus on the Palestinian issue, and what officials in the Prime Minister’s
Office refer to as the “justness of Israel’s cause.”
said the speech would be geared toward a number of different
audiences. It will be geared toward Israel’s friends, to set out for them
what Israel has done for peace and what it wants to do; it will be geared to
those in the international community who it is believed can still be influenced
in their voting; and it will be geared to the Palestinians and the Arab world
for whom the message will be that what Israel seeks is a real peace, one based
on Israel’s legitimacy and security needs.
In addition, the speech will
also touch on Iran – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak in the
UN the day before Netanyahu – as well as address the hopes and challenges of the
While Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is widely
expected to use part of his speech to slam Israel, Netanyahu is not expected to
address the current Turkish crisis directly, with Israel believing that the
crisis with Ankara will only be solved quietly.
In a related development,
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told a conference of donor countries to the
PA meeting in New York Sunday that if the Palestinians did indeed go through
with a unilateral step at the UN, Israel would no longer see itself bound by the
Oslo Accords. One of the unstated results of this would be to place in
jeopardy the NIS 3 billion-NIS 5.5b. in customs and tax revenues that
Israel transfers to the PA under the Oslo Accords each year.Lahav Harkov
contributed to this report.