(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Knesset members on the Left panned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s UN General Assembly speech on Monday night, expressing disappointment that he did not use the address to unveil a new diplomatic plan to end the conflict with the Palestinians.
MKs said he could have countered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s fiercely anti-Israel speech by offering the international community a new diplomatic horizon, but he failed to do so.
“The speech did not deliver an ounce of good news for citizens of Israel who are desperate for hope,” said Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich. “Netanyahu could have differentiated Israel by presenting it as a moderate country that seeks peace. Had he presented a real, daring diplomatic plan, it would have been a much better answer to the attacks that there have been on Israel, but Netanyahu does not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
Her Labor colleague MK Eitan Cabel complained that “what Israel needs is not a good copywriter but a leader.”
He said Netanyahu should have taken advantage of Abbas’s hate speech by showing the world that while the Palestinians were killing the diplomatic process, Israel’s hand was outstretched in peace, but, “as usual, Netanyahu preferred to be right and not smart.”
Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz called the prime minister’s speech “tired, worn-out and frustrating.” He said rather than calling for Arab countries to enter a diplomatic process, Netanyahu should be initiating a regional peace conference.
“An American accent is not enough to make up for a lack of vision and hope,” Horowitz said.
MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List- Ta’al) called the speech Islamophobic.
It was evident Netanyahu was frustrated that the world was not accepting his two primary theses equating Hamas with Islamic State and warning of the dangers of a nuclear Iran, Tibi said.
But coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) said Netanyahu had succeeded in unmasking Abbas as a partner of terrorism and not of peace. All the leaders of parties in Israel should stand behind the prime minister in his efforts to ensure the world sees the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism and the Palestinians’ continued refusal to make peace, Levin said.
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) expressed hope that the UN speech marked the end of Israel’s pursuit of a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians.
Israel could advance relations with the moderate Arab world directly, “based on mutual interests and not on the basis of forming a terrorist state on Israel’s territory,” she said.
Likud MK Danny Danon also attacked Netanyahu from the Right, saying that after clips of Islamic State decapitations, the prime minister did not have to bring any props to the UN to prove his point. The failure of the world to recognize the dangers was proof that Israel could rely only on itself, Danon said.