Katz delivered his speech in place of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who canceled his appearance at the world body this year – the first time he has not spoken at the UN General Assembly since 2010 – because of the political crisis in Israel.
Like Netanyahu surely would have done, Katz devoted a good part of his words to Iran, saying it is the “main problem threatening stability and security in the Middle East.”
He called the attack earlier this month on the Saudi oil facilities a “terror attack against Saudi Arabia” that was carried out on “direct order of Iranian leader Ali Khameinei” to destabilize world oil supplies.
Katz called on the international community to support US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure policy” against Iran, saying that “this is the way to stop them.”
“We must stop Iran today, in order to prevent war tomorrow, he said, adding a phrase in Farsi that he said meant “It isn’t over until it’s over.”
At the same time, Katz also said that the reality in the Middle East presents opportunities for cooperation, noting that Israel has a clear policy of advancing ties and normalization with the Arab Gulf States.
“We have no conflict with the Gulf states, and we have common interests in the field of security against the Iranian threat, as well as in developing many joint civilian initiatives”, he said, adding that he and Netanyahu developed the “Track for Regional Peace Initiative,” which would connect the Arab Gulf States by rail through Jordan to the Haifa port.
Katz began his speech by saying that it was moving for him – “the son of Holocaust survivors Meir and Malka Katz” – to stand at the UN podium as Israel’s foreign minister.