I missed Bibi’s speech last night as I was at a wedding. I’ve now caught up on it (via Israellycool) and “excellent” doesn’t begin to describe it.
Here’s the video:
You can read the full text of his speech at Israellycool, but here are some highlights via Times of Israel:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to speak at the Knesset and offered to speak at the PA headquarters in Ramallah to advance peace.
But alongside the overture at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Netanyahu also delivered a scathing rebuke of the Palestinian leadership, accusing it of “poisoning the future” by inciting terror through educational and TV programs and blasting it for its refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
The prime minister insisted that peace talks should resume though direct contact, telling Abbas that he is invited to speak “to the Israeli people in the Knesset in Jerusalem” and that he “would gladly come to speak [at] the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.”
“You have a choice to make,” Netanyahu said, still addressing Abbas, who had spoken in the plenum only minutes before. “You can continue to stoke hatred, as you did today. Or you can confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two nations.”
Reiterating that he remains “committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two people,” Netanyahu said that “Israel is ready to negotiate all final status issues,” and that “the road to peace is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York.”
“One thing I would never negotiate is our right to the one, only Jewish state,” Netanyahu said to some sustained applause.
“This conflict is not about the settlements, it never was,” he said in direct contradiction to Abbas’s comments earlier. “It’s always been about the existence of a Jewish state.
The prime minister also lambasted the Palestinians over their plan to sue the British government for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which supported “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” according to its text.
“That’s almost 100 years ago,” said Netanyahu. “Talk about being stuck in the past! The Palestinians might as well sue Iran for the Cyrus declarations, or file a class action suit against Abraham, for buying land in Hebron,” he added, referencing a Persian edict allowing Jews to return to Judea in 539 BCE and the Biblical patriarch.
In his wide-ranging speech before the UNGA, Netanyahu also promised to never let Iran develop nuclear weapons — “not now, not in a decade, not ever” — generating applause.
Iran is the greatest threat to Israel, to the region and to the world, he said, returning to a central theme of many previous UN speeches.
Speaking on other recent regional developments, Netanyahu spoke favorably of developing ties with regional countries, promising that “in the years ahead, Israel will forge lasting peace with all our neighbors.” That remark also generated enthusiastic applause.
Netanyahu said that world nations, notably in the Middle East, were shifting their traditional negative stances on Israel due to a changing region and the rise of common enemies, such as Iran and the Islamic State terror group.
“More than ever, many regional countries recognize that Israel is not their enemy but their ally,” he said, adding that the “common enemy is Iran and ISIS,” referring to the Islamic State.
But the best part of the speech in my opinion came near the beginning:
Netanyahu began his speech at the UNGA by enthusiastically declaring that “Israel has a bright future at the UN,” before launching into a scathing attack against the agency and its bodies for their alleged anti-Israel bias.
“Year after year, I’ve stood at this podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel and the UN deserved every scathing word,” he said.
The UN General Assembly last year passed 20 resolutions on Israel, Netanyahu said, while only three were passed on the rest of the world.
“And what about the joke called the Human Rights Council?” he asked, charging that that body passes more resolution “each year against Israel than any other country in the world combined.”
Netanyahu also slammed the recent UNESCO document eliding the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, arguing that it was like “denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China.”
“The UN, which had begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce,” he quipped.
If only Netanyahu’s actions on the ground were as forceful as his spoken words are…
But we can be proud that in international forums such as the UN, our Prime Minister comes across as a world-class statesman. If only the UN itself would appreciate that fact.