If last year it was imperative to lobby against the Iran nuclear deal, this year the need is to work in Washington against a new UN Mideast resolution, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear in a speech Tuesday to the AIPAC conference in Washington.
Netanyahu, in a live address from his office in Jerusalem, said the UN has “a shameful record singling out Israel for castigation and condemnation; so I have a question for you, why would anyone think the UN could decide a fair and secure peace for Israel?” The prime minister’s words came against the background of reports that US President Barack Obama was considering a final push on the Israeli- Palestinian diplomatic track that would include a UN Security Council resolution setting the parameters for a future settlement.
France is considering a similar move.
There are some, Netanyahu said, who “seek to impose terms on Israel in the UN Security Council, and those terms would undoubtedly be stacked against us, they always are. So such an effort at the UN would only convince the Palestinians that they can stab their way to a state; not a state, mind you, next to Israel, but a state instead of Israel.”
Netanyahu said a Security Council resolution “aimed at pressuring Israel would further harden the Palestinian positions and thereby could actually kill the chances of peace for many, many years. And that is why I hope that the United States will maintain its long-standing position, to reject such a UN resolution.”
The four presidential candidates who addressed AIPAC on Monday – Hillary Clinton from the Democratic Party, and Republicans Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich – all came out squarely against such a step, something Netanyahu said he appreciated.
“Peace won’t come through UN Security Council resolutions, but through direct negotiations between the parties,” he said. “The best formula for achieving peace remains two states for two people in which a demilitarized Palestinian state finally recognizes the Jewish state.”
Acknowledging that there is “some skepticism” regarding his views on a Palestinian state, Netanyahu reiterated that he was willing to begin talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas without preconditions anytime and anywhere.
“That is a fact,” he said. “But President Abbas is not ready to do so. That is also a fact. There is political will here, in Jerusalem. There is no political will there, in Ramallah.”
This appeared to be a direct response to US Vice President Joe Biden, who on Sunday told the conference he saw “no political will at this moment among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward with serious negotiations, and that’s incredibly disappointing.”
Netanyahu said that over the last five-and-a-half years, Abbas, rather than negotiating with him, has inculcated a new generation of Palestinians with “a murderous hatred of Israel.”
Netanyahu, who peppered his address with props such as two short video clips and a replica of an ancient Roman arrowhead found at Yodfat in the Lower Galilee, aired a clip of Abbas saying that every drop of blood spilled for Jerusalem is welcome, and of Palestinian children being taught that all of Israel is theirs and that it is good to stab Jews.
Turning to Iran, Netanyahu said it remains “fully committed to genocide – our genocide.”
The Islamic Republic, he said, sends deadly weapons to Hezbollah, supports Hamas and Islamic Jihad, pays thousands of dollars to terrorists to kill Jews and recently tested a ballistic missile upon which it was written in Hebrew that Israel must be wiped off the map.
“The writing is not on the wall, it’s on the missile,” he said.
Then, picking up the arrow head, he added: “An arrow just like this was shot by a Roman soldier at Yodfat, he was fighting to end Jewish independence once and for all. But Imperial Rome is long gone, and I am speaking to you today from our capital Jerusalem as the prime minister of the re-born Jewish state."
“We have restored our independence, we have restored our capacity to defend ourselves,” he said. “Iran should learn this history and have no illusions, Israel will defend itself mightily against all those who seek to destroy us. And Iran should remember that today, it is not only the enemies of the Jewish people who have arrows, today the Jewish state can defend itself with powerful arrows of our own.”
He then showed a video clip of a successful test of the Arrow missile knocking a ballistic missile out of the heavens.