NEW YORK – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to come “speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem,” during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday,
In return, he offered to “gladly come to speak peace with the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.”
“The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York,” Netanyahu said.
In reiterating his persistent call for direct negotiations with the Palestinians, Netanyahu rejected any possible United Nations plan to unilaterally impose a solution to the conflict.
“We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples.”
Netanyahu began his UN address by slamming the international body for consistently condemning Israel, calling it “a disgrace” and “a moral farce.” He also called the UN Human Rights Council a “joke” and UNESCO a “circus.”
“The sooner the UN’s obsession with Israel ends, the better.
The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself,” he said.
Nonetheless, he predicted that change will come soon.“Ladies and gentlemen, one message for you today: Lay down your arms, the war against Israel in the UN is over,” the prime minister told the member states.
“The change will happen in this hall because back home your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes toward Israel, and sooner or later that’s going to change the way you vote at the UN,” he told the assembled representatives.
“More and more nations see Israel as a potent partner.
“World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth.
Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.”
Netanyahu stressed that “Israel’s diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less but a revolution,” especially in its relations with Arab countries in the region, which he said have started to “recognize Israel not as their enemy, but as an ally” in the fight against radical Islam and terrorism.
As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu said that while settlements are an issue that needs to be solved, they are not – and have never been – the core of the problem.
The source of the conflict, rather, is “the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundaries.”
“The real settlements Palestinians are after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv,” he declared. “Israel is ready, I am ready to negotiate.
But one thing I will never negotiate is our right to the one and only Jewish state.”
Netanyahu also discussed Palestinian incitement to hate and said “hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children are being indoctrinated with hate every day, every hour.
“This is child abuse,” he continued.
“How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?” But he also said he wished to make clear he has not given up on peace and on the two-state solution, and that changes now happening in the Arab world provide a good opportunity to advance peace.
At the same podium an hour earlier, Abbas vowed to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council against Israeli settlements and “the terror of the settlers against the Palestinian people.”
He said the Palestinians will support all efforts for a UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements, and pointed to the US by saying he hopes such a motion will not be met by any veto.
“I call on you to declare 2017 the year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people,” he told the plenum.
In his speech, Abbas also called on Britain to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration and claimed that as a result of Britain’s endorsement of a Jewish homeland in the Holy Land, Israel “since 1948 has persisted in its contempt for international legitimacy” and seized more than the land additionally allotted for the Jewish state.
In his speech, Netanyahu ridiculed the Palestinian leader for these claims.
Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon also criticized the PA president’s speech.
“Abbas chose to use the UN pulpit to represent Palestinian terror. His dangerous words are sure to lead to even more terror attacks against Israel,” Danon said. “The Palestinian youth listening to his speech today will be the terrorists of tomorrow.
Abbas’s words are like a ticking time-bomb.”
On Wednesday, Netanyahu met with US President Barack Obama and spoke on a number of topics including settlement expansion and the desire to reach an agreement on the twostate solution. Netanyahu also thanked Obama for signing a $38 billion, 10-year military aid package last week.
On Thursday, however, Minister- without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi panned the US president as “naive and messianic” toward Israel.
The Likud lawmaker said that there had been an “improvement” in Obama’s stance toward the Jewish state in his second term, however he also said that the US president was “not acting as the world’s strongest man, but as an employee of the Clinton campaign.”
Netanyahu will end his visit to New York on Sunday.Adam Rasgon and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.