In a dramatic speech on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations General Assembly, openly confronting them with their blatant bias against Israel while holding out his hand in friendship. With the US President‘s shocking statement to the UN, “Israel cannot permanently occupy Palestinian land”, still echoing in the hall, Netanyahu threw down the gauntlet, stating in no uncertain terms that Israel would not back down.
“Israel has a bright future at the UN,” Netanyahu opened, following this with accusations. “Year after year I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic state of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet. Israel – 20; rest of the world – three.”
He called the UN Human Rights Council “a joke”, before slamming UNESCO for denying “the 4,000-year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount,” comparing it to “denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China”.
He claimed that Israel’s technology is building diplomatic connections around the world. Pointing to rising terrorism around the globe, he noted that Israel is a leader in conventional security as well as cyber-security.
This was the backdrop for one of his more surprising claims. After noting increasing ties with Africa, China, India, Russia, and Japan, Netanyahu claimed that Israel has strengthened its ties in the Arab world, specifically with Egypt and Jordan, due to the common enemies of the Islamic State (ISIS) and Iran.
Despite his lukewarm meeting with US President Barack Obama at the UN on Wednesday Netanyahu had warm words for the “unbreakable” bond between the two countries.
“Our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship, is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth,” Netanyahu proclaimed to the nations gathered. “Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful.”
Openly accusing the UN of hostility towards Israel, Netanyahu let the international body know that it would not succeed.
“I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel at the UN is over. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?” Netanyahu challenged. “We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.”
Even before he stood at the podium, critics of the Israeli PM were already sharpening their knives. The day before his speech, the New York Times labelled Netanyahu as “brash”, criticizing him for hostility towards the UN.
An anonymous Palestinian Authority official told the Times of Israel that called Netanyahu’s offers to establish peace negotiations were nothing more than “a bluff”.
“Netanyahu is committed to the one-state solution and not two states,” the official added.