Netanyahu to New York to meet with Obama, Ban and the UN

During his speech to the UN, Netanyahu is expected to discuss Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region, the regional upheaval and the Palestinian issue.

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September 20, 2016 07:57
4 minute read.
White House

US President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, October 1, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to leave Tuesday afternoon for a five-day trip to New York, where he will meet with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday, address the General Assembly on Thursday and meet that same day with outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The meeting with Obama, expected to be their last face-to-face meeting before the president leaves office on January 20, is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Obama’s Manhattan hotel. It is expected to deal with a wide range of issues, from implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, to the situation in Syria, and the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.

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US officials have maintained for months that Obama has not yet made up his mind whether or not he will deliver a speech before he leaves office on what he believes should be the parameters of a future peace deal, or whether the US would support or veto a new UN Security Council resolution on the issue.

Netanyahu said earlier this week he will use the meeting as an opportunity to thank Obama for the recently signed military aid package that will give Israel $38 billion over a decade beginning in 2019.

This will be the 17th meeting between the two leaders since they both came to power in 2009. By comparison, George W. Bush, during his eight years in office, met the Israeli prime ministers he dealt with – Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert – a total of 19 times, 11 times with Sharon and eight times with Olmert.

Netanyahu’s office has not yet put out a list of the other leaders – with the exception of Ban – with whom he will be meeting on the margins of the UN meeting, though Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting that they will include some African leaders.

During his speech to the UN, Netanyahu is expected to discuss Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region, the regional upheaval and the Palestinian issue. Over the years Netanyahu’s speeches to the world body have been accompanied by props and theatrics that have set them off from the addresses given by the other nearly 200 leaders who address the body every year.



For instance, last year Netanyahu slammed the world for its silence in the face of Iran’s threats to eliminate Israel, ramming home his point by staring in silence at the delegates in the hall for 45 seconds. And in 2012 he famously drew a redline on rudimentary sketch of a bomb.

His meeting with Ban will also be their last, since Ban is slated to end his nine years as head of the world body at the end of the year. This meeting follows a highly critical statement Ban made to the Security Council last week, including characterizing as “outrageous” Netanyahu’s recent video in which he said the demand for a Palestinian state without Jews was tantamount to ethnic cleansing.

“I am disturbed by a recent statement by Israel’s prime minister portraying those who oppose settlement expansion as supporters of ethnic cleansing,” Ban said during a debate on the Middle East. “This is unacceptable and outrageous.”

The meeting with Ban also follows a decision by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to blacklist Ban’s special envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, following very critical comments he made about Israel’s settlement policy to the Security Council last month.

Mladenov slammed Israel in an August 29 meeting for “dispossessing the Palestinians.” Channel 2 last week first reported on the boycott of Mladenov, but this was never formally confirmed by the Defense Ministry.

But on Monday night, following another Channel 2 report that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.- Gen. Yoav Mordechai met at the UN with Mladenov, Lieberman’s spokesman indirectly confirmed the boycott by saying that an Israeli delegation met a UN delegation in New York as part of a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, the so called “Donors’ Committee,” which was established in 1993 as the principal mechanism for international aid to the Palestinian Authority.

“This was not a personal meeting,” the statement said, adding that Mordechai’s participation in the meeting was at Liberman’s directive. “The UN delegation does not determine whose Israel’s participants will be, and the Israeli delegation does not determine who will be in the UN delegation.”

The meeting with Ban also follows a decision by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to blacklist Ban's special envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, following very critical comments he made about Israel's settlement policy to the Security Council last month.

Mladenov slammed Israel in an August 29 meeting for “dispossessing the Palestinians.” Channel 2 last week first reported on the boycott of Mladenov, but this was never formally confirmed by the Defense Ministry.

On Monday night, however, following another Channel 2 report that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen Yoav Mordechai met at the UN with Mladenov, Lieberman's spokesman indirectly confirmed the boycott by saying that an Israeli delegation met a UN delegation in New York as part of a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, the so-called “Donors' Committee” that was established in 1993 as the principal mechanism for international aid to the Palestinian Authority.

“This was not a personal meeting,” the statement said, adding that Mordechai's participation in the meeting was at Liberman's directive. “The UN delegation does not determine who Israel's participants will be, and the Israeli delegation does not determine who will be in the UN delegation.”

Netanyahu is scheduled to leave New York on Sunday evening, arriving back in Israel on Monday.

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