At UN, Israeli leader calls on Palestinians to resume peace talks, deplores Iran for annihilation threats

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventieth session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

1 October 2015 – At the same United Nations podium from which Mahmoud Abbas announced yesterday that he would no longer be bound by accords with Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today called on the Palestinian leader to begin immediate unconditional peace talks in a speech largely devoted to denouncing Iran for its threats to annihilate the Jewish State.

“I am prepared to immediately, immediately, resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions whatsoever,” he told the UN General Assembly on the fourth day of its 70th annual Debate. “Unfortunately, President Abbas said yesterday that he is not prepared to do this. I hope he changes his mind.”

“Because I remain committed to a vision of two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish State,” he said. “Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to abide by its commitments. The Palestinians should not walk away from peace. President Abbas, I know it’s not easy.

“I know it’s hard. But we owe it to our peoples to try, to continue to try, because together, if we actually negotiate and stop negotiating about the negotiation, if we actually sit down and try to resolve this conflict between us, recognize each other, not use a Palestinian state as a stepping stone for another Islamist dictatorship in the Middle East, but something that will live at peace next to the Jewish state, if we actually do that, we can do remarkable things for our peoples.”

In his speech yesterday Mr. Abbas cited continual Israeli violations of the 20-year-old accords, including non-stop Israeli settlement of land the Palestinians claim for their hoped-for state, for his decision to no longer feel bound by the political and security agreements.

As he has in speeches to the General Assembly over the past three years, Mr. Netanyahu devoted the lion’s share to Iran, this year denouncing the international deal on its nuclear programme, warning that it would the Islamic Republic would use the hundreds of billions of frozen dollars unlocked by the accord to further terrorism around the world.

He noted that just in the last six months Iran has boosted its supply of devastating weapons and soldiers to war-torn Syria, shipped tons of arms to Houthi rebels in Yemen, and supplied the Hizbollah group in Lebanon with advanced missiles capable of shooting down Israeli planes, sinking its ships and hit any target in the country.

“I repeat: Iran’s been doing all of this, everything that I’ve just described, just in the last six months, when it was trying to convince the world to remove the sanctions. Now just imagine what Iran will do after those sanctions are lifted,” he declared.

“Unleashed and un-muzzled, Iran will go on the prowl, devouring more and more prey. In the wake of the nuclear deal, Iran is spending billions of dollars on weapons and satellites.

“You think Iran is doing that to advance peace? You think hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and fat contracts will turn this rapacious tiger into a kitten? If you do, you should think again.”

Last week, Iranian army commander Major-General Ataollah Salehi proclaimed ‘We will annihilate Israel for sure,’ Mr. Netanyahu added, citing a 400-page book by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that he said details plans to do so.

“So here’s my message to the rulers of Iran: Your plan to destroy Israel will fail. Israel will not permit any force on earth to threaten its future,” he declared.

“And here’s my message to all the countries represented here: Whatever resolutions you may adopt in this building, whatever decisions you may take in your capitals, Israel will do whatever it must do to defend our State and to defend our people.”


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