Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2011: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the UN / United Nations Full Text Transcript Excerpts



Remarks by Israeli PM Netanyahu to the U.N. General Assembly

Photo of Benjamin Netanyahu by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York City, New York

Remarks by Israeli PM Netanyahu to the U.N. General Assembly

MR. : Theassembly will now hear a statement by His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the State of Israel.

I have great pleasure in welcoming His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of the state of Israel.


MR. : Iinvite him to address the General Assembly.

PRIME MIN. NETANYAHU:Thank you, Mr. President.

Ladies and gentlemen, Israelhas extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago.On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. Iextend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship forneighbors with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey,with respect and good will. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia,with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it tothe other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we wantto forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran,with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extendmy hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, inIsrael our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, and innovatorsapply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers,enrich the heritage of humanity. Now, I know that this is not exactly the imageof Israel that is often portrayed in this hall. After all, it was here in 1975that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in ourancient biblical homeland — it was then that this was branded shamefully, as racism. And it was here in 1980, right here, that thehistoric peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised; it wasdenounced! And it’s here, year after year that Israel is unjustly singled outfor condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all thenations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assemblyresolutions condemn Israel — the one true democracy in the Middle East.

Well, this is an unfortunatepart of the U.N. institution. It’s the theater of the absurd. It doesn’tonly cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles:Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraqheaded the U.N. Committee on Disarmament. You might say: That’s thepast. Well, here’s what’s happening now — right now, today,  Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the U.N. Security Council. Thismeans, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrustedwith guaranteeing the world’s security.

You couldn’t make this thingup.

So here in the U.N.,automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets rises in the west. But they can also decide — they have decided — that the Western Wall inJerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

And yet even here in the GeneralAssembly, the truth can sometimes break through. In 1984 when I was appointedIsrael’s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi ofLubavich. He said to me — and ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want any of you tobe offended because from personal experience of serving here, I know there aremany honorable men and women, many capable and decent people, serving their nations here — But here’s what the rebbe said to me. He said to me, you’ll beserving in a house of many lies. And then he said, remember that even in thedarkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.

Today I hope that the lightof truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long hasbeen a place of darkness for my country. So as Israel’s prime minister, Ididn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth. The truth is — the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth isthat I want peace. The truth is that in the Middle East at all times, butespecially during these turbulent days, peace must be anchored in security. Thetruth is that we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions, but onlythrough direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far thePalestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peacewith a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. Andthe truth is you shouldn’t let that happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, when Ifirst came here 27 years ago, the world was divided between East and West.Since then the Cold War ended, great civilizations have risen from centuries ofslumber, hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, countless moreare poised to follow, and the remarkable thing is that so far this monumentalhistoric shift has largely occurred peacefully. Yet a malignancy is now growingbetween East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not toliberate, but to enslave, not to build, but to destroy.

That malignancy is militantIslam. It cloaks itself in the mantle of a great faith, yet it murders Jews,Christians and Muslims alike with unforgiving impartiality. On September 11thit killed thousands of Americans, and it left the twin towers in smolderingruins. Last night I laid a wreath on the 9/11 memorial. It was deeply moving.But as I was going there, one thing echoed in my mind: the outrageous words ofthe president of Iran on this podium yesterday. He implied that 9/11 was anAmerican conspiracy. Some of you left this hall. All of you should have.

Since 9/11, militantIslamists slaughtered countless other innocents — in London and Madrid, inBaghdad and Mumbai, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in every part of Israel. Ibelieve that the greatest danger facing our world is that this fanaticism willarm itself with nuclear weapons. And this is precisely what Iran is trying todo.

Can you imagine that man whoranted here yesterday — can you imagine him armed with nuclear weapons? Theinternational community must stop Iran before it’s too late. If Iran is notstopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism, and the Arab Springcould soon become an Iranian winter.

That would be a tragedy. Millions of Arabshave taken to the streets to replace tyranny with liberty, and no one wouldbenefit more than Israel if those committed to freedom and peace would prevail.

This is my fervent hope. Butas the prime minister of Israel, I cannot risk the future of the Jewish stateon wishful thinking. Leaders must see reality as it is, not as it ought to be.We must do our best to shape the future, but we cannot wish away the dangers ofthe present.

And the world around Israelis definitely becoming more dangerous. Militant Islam has already taken overLebanon and Gaza. It’s determined to tear apart the peace treaties betweenIsrael and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan. It’s poisoned many Arab mindsagainst Jews and Israel, against America and the West. It opposes not thepolicies of Israel but the existence of Israel.

Now, some argue that thespread of militant Islam, especially in these turbulent times — if you want toslow it down, they argue, Israel must hurry to make concessions, to maketerritorial compromises. And this theory sounds simple. Basically it goes likethis: Leave the territory, and peace will be advanced. The moderates will bestrengthened, the radicals will be kept at bay. And don’t worry about the peskydetails of how Israel will actually defend itself; international troops will dothe job.

These people say to meconstantly: Just make a sweeping offer, and everything will work out. You know,there’s only one problem with that theory. We’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked.In 2000 Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of thePalestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched aterror attack that claimed a thousand Israeli lives.

Prime Minister Olmertafterwards made an even more sweeping offer, in 2008. President Abbas didn’teven respond to it.

But Israel did more than justmake sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn’t calm the Islamicstorm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the stormcloser and made it stronger.

Hezbollah and Hamas firedthousands of rockets against our cities from the very territories we vacated.See, when Israel left Lebanon and Gaza, the moderates didn’t defeat theradicals, the moderates were devoured by the radicals. And I regret to say thatinternational troops like UNIFIL in Lebanon and EUBAM in Gaza didn’t stopthe radicals from attacking Israel.

We left Gaza hoping forpeace.

We didn’t freeze thesettlements in Gaza, we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says: Getout, go back to the 1967 borders, dismantle the settlements.

And I don’t think peopleremember how far we went to achieve this. We uprooted thousands of people fromtheir homes. We pulled children out of — out of their schools and theirkindergartens. We bulldozed synagogues. We even — we even moved loved onesfrom their graves. And then, having done all that, we gave the keys of Gaza toPresident Abbas.

Now the theory says it shouldall work out, and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could builda peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded.They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship. It was a boldact of peace.

But ladies and gentlemen, wedidn’t get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy Hamaspromptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authoritycollapsed in a day — in one day.

President Abbas just said onthis podium that the Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams.Yeah, hopes, dreams and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran, notto mention the river of lethal weapons now flowing into Gaza from the Sinai,from Libya, and from elsewhere.

Thousands of missiles havealready rained down on our cities. So you might understand that, given allthis, Israelis rightly ask: What’s to prevent this from happening again in theWest Bank? See, most of our major cities in the south of the country are withina few dozen kilometers from Gaza. But in the center of the country, oppositethe West Bank, our cities are a few hundred meters or at most a few kilometersaway from the edge of the West Bank.

So I want to ask you. Wouldany of you — would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, to yourfamilies? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens? Israelis are prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re notprepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have realsecurity arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate withus.

Israelis remember the bitterlessons of Gaza. Many of Israel’s critics ignore them. They irresponsiblyadvise Israel to go down this same perilous path again. Your read what thesepeople say and it’s as if nothing happened — just repeating the same advice,the same formulas as though none of this happened.

And these critics continue topress Israel to make far-reaching concessions without first assuring Israel’ssecurity. They praise those who unwittingly feed the insatiable crocodile ofmilitant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us whoinsist that we must first erect a sturdy barrier to keep the crocodile out, orat the very least jam an iron bar between its gaping jaws.

So in the face of the labelsand the libels, Israel must heed better advice. Better a bad press than a goodeulogy, and better still would be a fair press whose sense of history extendsbeyond breakfast, and which recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

I believe that in seriouspeace negotiations, these needs and concerns can be properly addressed, butthey will not be addressed without negotiations. And the needs are many,because Israel is such a tiny country. Without Judea and Samaria, the WestBank, Israel is all of 9 miles wide.

I want to put it for you inperspective, because you’re all in the city. That’s about two-thirds the lengthof Manhattan. It’s the distance between Battery Park and Columbia University.And don’t forget that the people who live in Brooklyn and New Jersey areconsiderably nicer than some of Israel’s neighbors.

So how do you — how do youprotect such a tiny country, surrounded by people sworn to its destruction andarmed to the teeth by Iran? Obviously you can’t defend it from within thatnarrow space alone. Israel needs greater strategic depth, and that’s exactlywhy Security Council Resolution 242 didn’t require Israel to leave all theterritories it captured in the Six-Day War. It talked about withdrawal fromterritories, to secure and defensible boundaries. And to defend itself, Israelmust therefore maintain a long-term Israeli military presence in criticalstrategic areas in the West Bank.

I explained this to PresidentAbbas. He answered that if a Palestinian state was to be a sovereign country,it could never accept such arrangements. Why not? America has had troops inJapan, Germany and South Korea for more than a half a century. Britain has hadan an air base in Cyprus. France has forces inthree independent African nations. None of these states claim that they’re notsovereign countries.

And there are many othervital security issues that also must be addressed. Take the issue of airspace.Again, Israel’s small dimensions create huge security problems. America can becrossed by jet airplane in six hours. To fly across Israel, it takes threeminutes. So is Israel’s tiny airspace to be chopped in half and given to aPalestinian state not at peace with Israel?

Our major internationalairport is a few kilometers away from the West Bank. Without peace, will ourplanes become targets for antiaircraft missiles placed in the adjacentPalestinian state? And how will we stop the smuggling into the West Bank? It’snot merely the West Bank, it’s the West Bank mountains. It just dominates thecoastal plain where most of Israel’s population sits below. How could weprevent the smuggling into these mountains of those missiles that could befired on our cities?

I bring up these problemsbecause they’re not theoretical problems. They’re very real. And for Israelis,they’re life-and- death matters. All these potential cracks in Israel’ssecurity have to be sealed in a peace agreement before a Palestinian state isdeclared, not afterwards, because if you leave it afterwards, they won’t besealed. And these problems will explode in our face and explode the peace.

The Palestinians should firstmake peace with Israel and then get their state. But I also want to tell youthis. After such a peace agreement is signed, Israel will not be the lastcountry to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations.We will be the first.

And there’s one more thing.Hamas has been violating international law by holding our soldier Gilad Shalitcaptive for five years.

They haven’t given even oneRed Cross visit. He’s held in a dungeon, in darkness, against all internationalnorms. Gilad Shalit is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit. He is the grandson ofZvi Shalit, who escaped the Holocaust by coming to the — in the 1930s as a boyto the land of Israel. Gilad Shalit is the son of every Israeli family. Everynation represented here should demand his immediate release. If youwant to pass a resolution about the Middle East today, that’sthe resolution you should pass.

Ladies and gentlemen, lastyear in Israel in Bar-Ilan University, this year in the Knesset and in the U.S.Congress, I laid out my vision for peace in which a demilitarized Palestinianstate recognizes the Jewish state. Yes, the Jewish state. After all, this isthe body that recognized the Jewish state 64 years ago. Now, don’t you thinkit’s about time that Palestinians did the same?

The Jewish state of Israelwill always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1million Arab citizens of Israel. I wish I could say the same thing about afuture Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day– in fact, I think they made it right here in New York — they said thePalestinian state won’t allow any Jews in it. They’ll be Jew-free — Judenrein.That’s ethnic cleansing. There are laws today in Ramallah that make the sellingof land to Jews punishable by death. That’s racism. And you know which lawsthis evokes.

Israel has no intentionwhatsoever to change the democratic character of our state. We just don’t wantthe Palestinians to try to change the Jewish character of our state. We want to give up — we want them to give up the fantasy offlooding Israel with millions of Palestinians.

President Abbas just stoodhere, and he said that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is thesettlements. Well, that’s odd. Our conflict has been raging for — was raging fornearly half a century before there was a single Israeli settlement in the WestBank. So if what President Abbas is saying was true, then the — I guess thatthe settlements he’s talking about are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva.Maybe that’s what he meant the other day when he said that Israel has beenoccupying Palestinian land for 63 years. He didn’t say from 1967; he said from1948. I hope somebody will bother to ask him this question because itillustrates a simple truth: The core of the conflict is not the settlements.The settlements are a result of the conflict..

The settlements have to be –it’s an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the course ofnegotiations. But the core of the conflict has always been and unfortunatelyremains the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in anyborder.

I think it’s time that thePalestinian leadership recognizes what every serious international leader hasrecognized, from Lord Balfour and Lloyd George in 1917, to President Truman in1948, to President Obama just two days ago right here: Israel is the Jewishstate.

President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state, and make peace with us. In sucha genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believethat the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel nor itssubjects. They should live in a free state of their own. But they should beready, like us, for compromise. And we will know that they’re ready forcompromise and for peace when they start taking Israel’s security requirementsseriously and when they stop denying our historical connection to our ancienthomeland.

I often hear them accuseIsrael of Judaizing Jerusalem. That’s like accusing America of AmericanizingWashington, or the British of Anglicizing London. You know why we’re called”Jews”? Because we come from Judea.

In my office in Jerusalem,there’s a — there’s an ancient seal. It’s a signet ring of a Jewish officialfrom the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall,and it dates back 2,700 years, to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there’s aname of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name wasNetanyahu. That’s my last name. My first name, Benjamin, dates back a thousandyears earlier to Benjamin — Binyamin — the son of Jacob, who was also knownas Israel. Jacob and his 12 sons roamed these same hills of Judea and Samaria4,000 years ago, and there’s been a continuous Jewish presence in the land eversince.

And for those Jews who wereexiled from our land, they never stopped dreaming of coming back: Jews inSpain, on the eve of their expulsion; Jews in the Ukraine, fleeing the pogroms;Jews fighting the Warsaw Ghetto, as the Nazis were circling around it. Theynever stopped praying, they never stopped yearning. They whispered: Next yearin Jerusalem. Next year in the promised land.

As the prime minister ofIsrael, I speak for a hundred generations of Jews who were dispersed throughoutthe lands, who suffered every evil under the Sun, but who never gave up hope ofrestoring their national life in the one and only Jewish state.

Ladies and gentlemen, Icontinue to hope that President Abbas will be my partner in peace. I’ve workedhard to advance that peace. The day I came into office, I called for directnegotiations without preconditions. President Abbas didn’t respond. I outlineda vision of peace of two states for two peoples. He still didn’t respond. Iremoved hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints, to ease freedom of movement inthe Palestinian areas; this facilitated a fantastic growth in the Palestinianeconomy. But again — no response. I took the unprecedented step of freezingnew buildings in the settlements for 10 months. No prime minister did thatbefore, ever. Once again — you applaud, but there was noresponse. No response.

In the last few weeks,American officials have put forward ideas to restart peace talks. There werethings in those ideas about borders that I didn’t like. There were things thereabout the Jewish state that I’m sure the Palestinians didn’t like.

But with all my reservations,I was willing to move forward on these American ideas.

President Abbas, why don’tyou join me? We have to stop negotiating about the negotiations. Let’s just geton with it. Let’s negotiate peace.

I spent years defendingIsrael on the battlefield. I spent decades defending Israel in the court ofpublic opinion. President Abbas, you’ve dedicated your life to advancing thePalestinian cause. Must this conflict continue for generations, or will we be able our children and our grandchildren to speak in years ahead of how wefound a way to end it? That’s what we should aim for, and that’s what I believewe can achieve.

In two and a half years, wemet in Jerusalem only once, even though my door has always been open to you. Ifyou wish, I’ll come to Ramallah. Actually, I have a better suggestion. We’veboth just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we’re in the same city.We’re in the same building. So let’s meet here today in the United Nations. Who’s there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we genuinelywant peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peacenegotiations?

And I suggest we talk openlyand honestly. Let’s listen to one another. Let’s do as we say in the MiddleEast: Let’s talk “doogri”. That means straightforward. I’ll tellyou my needs and concerns. You’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’llfind the common ground of peace.

There’s an old Arab sayingthat you cannot applaud with one hand. Well, the same is true of peace. Icannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you. President Abbas, Iextend my hand — the hand of Israel — in peace. I hope that you will graspthat hand. We are both the sons of Abraham. My people call him Avraham. Yourpeople call him Ibrahim. We share the same patriarch. We dwell in the sameland. Our destinies are intertwined. Let us realize the vision of Isaiah –(Isaiah 9:1in Hebrew) — “The people who walk in darkness will see a greatlight.” Let that light be the light of peace.

Netanyahu at the UN: Let’s Make Peace Today, Here at the UN!

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-23-11

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations only minutes after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for Recognition of a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders. Abbas’ speech received thunderous applause.

Netanyahu took the floor, and quickly made one thing clear. “I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth.”

Netanyahu began by saying that, “Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago.” The Prime Minister went on to offer a hand in peace to Turkey, “with respect,” to Egypt and Jordan with “hope of renewed friendship”, and even mentioned the people of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Libya, Tunisia and Iran. Netanyahu then paused before saying, “But most especially I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.”

Netanyahu spoke a moment about Israel and the great contributions made by the people of Israel to the international community in science, medicine and art. He then said,
“I know this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed in this hall.”

He added, “It is here, year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation, more often than all the nations of the world combined! Twenty-one out of the twenty-seven General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. This is unfortunate… it is the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain, but it often casts villains in leading roles…. Hizbuillah controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over a body entrusted to guard world security. You couldn’t make these things up!”

He spoke candidly saying, “So here in the UN’s automatic majority, you can decide anything… that the sun rises in the west. It can be decided that Jerusalem, Israel’s holiest place is occupied Palestinian territory. But even here the truth can break through sometimes.”

Netanyahu then told a story of words imparted to him by the Lubavitch Rebbe in 1984 upon Netanyahu’s appointment as delegate to the United Nations. “The Rebbe said to me… you will be serving in a house of many lies. but remember that even in the darkest place, the light of one single candle can be seen far and wide. so i hope this light will be seen even for two minutes in a hall that for too long as been a dark one for my people.”

Netanyahu told the Assembly: “The truth is Israel wants peace. The truth is I want peace… the truth is, we cannot achieve peace through resolutions. The truth is Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the truth is the Palestinians want a state without peace.”

The Prime Minister spoke in length regarding the threat of militant Islam and the tragic consequences it has imposed on Western Society. He spoke of 9/11, reminding the Assembly what the President of Iran had said only hours before from the same podium, accusing the Americans for conspiring 9/11. Netanyahu looked at the audience and said: “Some of you walked out. All of you should have.”

He reminded those present of the attacks carried out in the name of militant Islam, the bombings in Madrid, Mumbai, London, and the constant terror imposed on the Israeli people. He spoke on the dangers of these powers should they acquire nuclear abilities, as Iran is attempting to do.” If Iran is not stopped, the Arab spring will soon be an Iranian winter.”

“To many people, the solution sounds simple… leave the territories and there will be peace. There’s only one problem… we’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked.”

“In 2000 we made the Palestinians a peace offer meeting virtually all of their demands. They rejected it. They then launched an initiative of terror claiming 1000 Israeli lives… We did more than make offers. We left territories. We left Lebanon in 2000, we left every square inch of Gaza in 2005… and this did not calm the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought it closer and made it stronger. Hizbullah and Hamas sent thousands of rockets from the territories we vacated… see, when we left Gaza, the moderates didn’t defeat the radicals, they were devoured by the radicals.

… we left Gaza hoping for peace. we didn’t freeze the settlements in Gaza. we uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says, we got out.

I don’t think people remember how far we went to achieve this. We pulled thousands of people from their homes. We pulled children out of their kindergartens, we bulldozed synagogues, we even moved loved ones from their graves… and then having done all that we gave the keys of Gaza to president Abbas.

The theory says it should all work out… and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship, a bold act of peace.

But we did not get peace, we got war. We got Iran. Which through its proxy Hamas, promptly kicked put the Palestinian Authority which collapsed in ONE day, in a day.
President Abbas just said Palestinians are armed only with their hopes and dreams, yes, hopes and dreams and ten thousand missiles and grad rockets supplied by Iran. Not to mention the river of lethal weapons flowing into Gaza from Libya and Syria through the Sinai.

Thousands of missiles have already rained down on our cities. So you might understand that given all this, Israelis ask, what’s to prevent this happening again in the West Bank? See, most of our cities in the south of Israel are within 2 kilometers from Gaza, but in the center of the country, our cities are a few hundred meters away from the edge of the West Bank.

So i want to ask you, would any of you bring danger so close to your cities, your families? Would you act so recklessly with the lives of your citizens? Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepped to have another Gaza there. Which is why we need to have real security…”

Hitting back at the critics of Israel, Netanyahu said: “There are those who want to cast the insatiable crocodile of militant Islam as bold statesmen. They cast as enemies of peace those of us who insist we erect a barrier to keep the crocodile out.. or at the very least jam an iron bar between its jaws.”

He added, “But better a bad press than a good eulogy.”

After contrasting the size of Israel with the size of Manhattan, Netanyahu asked the Assembly members what they would do in his situation.

In response to the critics who claim that Israel is “judaizing Jerusalem,” he stated, “That’s like saying that in the US you are Americanizing Washington of Anglo-izing London. You know why we’re called Jews? Because we come from Judea!”

After explaining why Israel cannot make peace without the Palestinians recognition of a Jewish state, he called upon President Abbas to meet with him to discuss peace today in New York.

“In two and a half years we met in Jerusalem only once though my door has been open to you. If you want, I will go to Ramallah, or better yet, we both flew thousands of miles to come here, to New York. We’re in the same city. We’re in the same building!

Let’s meet here today, in the United Nations. What’s to stop us? Let’s listen to one another… let’s talk “dogri.” [straight up.]

I’ll tell you my needs, you’ll tell me yours, and with God’s help, we’ll find the common ground of peace… I cannot make peace alone. I cannot make peace without you.

President Abbas, I extend my hand, the hand of Israel in peace. I hope you will grasp that hand… we are both sons of Abraham, we share the same patriarch, we share the same land, and our histories are intertwined.”

Israel Political Brief September 23, 2011: Excerpts from Mahmoud Abbas & PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speeches at the UN (United Nations) on Israel & Palestinian Statehood Request



Abbas: ‘Palestine Is Waiting to Be Born’; Netanyahu: ‘Israel Wants Peace’

Source: PBS Newshour, 9-23-11

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas submitted a formal request for U.N. membership Friday, saying negotiations with Israel had repeatedly broken down without results.

Abbas urged the Security Council to vote for full membership, and he called on countries that hadn’t done so already to recognize the state of Palestine.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to speak soon. Watch the U.N. General Assembly speeches live here:

Abbas said Palestinians are seeking a greater and more effective role in the United Nations to obtain legitimate national rights for the Palestinian people, as defined by U.N. resolutions of international legitimacy.

He held up a copy of the application to loud cheers in the U.N. chamber.

The Israeli government isn’t committing to the terms of the negotiations based on international law and continues to build settlements in Palestinian territories, Abbas said.

“This policy will destroy the chances of achieving a two-State solution upon which there is an international consensus, and here I caution aloud: This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence,” he said, according to translators.

Negotiations will be meaningless as long as Israel advances its occupation in order to alter its borders, he said.

He ended his speech by saying “Palestine is waiting to be born.”

Read the text of Abbas’ remarks as prepared for delivery here.

Photo of Benjamin Netanyahu by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.N. General Assembly later in the afternoon, saying Israel wants peace despite its reputation among some in the United Nations.

“In Israel, our hope for peace never wanes,” Netanyahu said, but “we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions but through negotiations between the two parties.”

He said the Palestinians don’t want negotiations.

As for settlements, Netanyahu said that in Gaza, the Israelis uprooted thousands of people from their homes, took children out of schools, leveled synagogues and unburied some graves.

“But ladies and gentlemen, we didn’t get peace. We got war,” he said. And Israel is called upon to make increasing concessions without ensuring its security.

“The Palestinians should make peace with Israel and then get their state,” said Netanyahu.

The U.N. website did not have the text of Netanyahu’s remarks. Statements are supplied by the country of origin.

The Obama administration has promised to veto the Palestinian request for membership if the U.N. Security Council takes it up, saying it would circumvent the peace process with Israel.


Israel Political Brief September 23, 2011: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Speech at the UN / United Nations Full Text Transcript Excerpts



Abbas: Israel is Occupying Power Guilty of Apartheid

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 9-23-11

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took the stage at the United Nations General Assembly, minutes after he submitted an official request to General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon for full membership for “Palestine” to the body of the United Nations.

To thunderous applause, Abbas called for a Palestinian state with the “Full borders of June 4, 1967” to be inducted as a full member of the United Nations. Telling the General Assembly that it is time for a “Palestinian Spring,” one theme consistently repeated itself: Israelis are merely an occupying power.

Highlights from Abbas’ speech:

“The Occupying Power continues to intensify, building settlements on the future state of Palestine.”

“Colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people… all the brutality and.. oppression [by the Israelis] …this is a primary cause of the failure of the peace process.”

“[Israelis continue] the systematic confiscation of Palestinian lands and the construction of thousands of new settlements in areas in the West Bank particularly in the Arab part of Jerusalem…”

“The racist wall [is] eating up vast parts of our land, creating seperated islands… destroying families and communiteis… destroying family lives of thousands….”

“[The Israelis] multi prong policy of ethnic cleansing is pushing Palestinian refugees away from their ancestral homeland.”
abbas un
“The occupying power also does excavations that threaten our holy places.”

“[The Israelis] besiege the Holy City with a ring of settlements and an annexation wall intended to separate the holy city from its people.”

“The occupying power continues to impose a strict blockade on the Gaza strip and target Palestinian citizens with air-strikes.”

“Because we believe in peace and because of our convictions and because we have the courage to make difficult decisions… we have decided to take the path of some justice… we agreed to establish the state of Palestine on only 22% of the state of Palestine…”

“Criminal actions of armed civilian militias.. have intensified with frequent attacks against our people targeting schools, universities, mosques, fields, crops, and trees.
Today they killed one Palestinian… despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Israelis have not tried to stop these acts, we hold them fully responsible for crimes of the settlers.”

“Every move [toward peace] was shattered on the rocks of the expansion of the Israeli settlement projects.”

“The goal of the Palestinian people is a realization … for an independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, with all the land of the West Bank including the Gaza strip, and all of East Jerusalem.”

Abbas described the Palestinians as “Defenseless people only with their dreams, courage and hope.. against bullets, bombs and bulldozers.”

“When we bring our plight here…. it is obvious we are not taking unilateral steps, our intention is not to de-legitimize israel, only the settlement activities and apartheid policies.
We hope all nations in world stand with us on this regard.”

Abbas also stated that while the Palestinians have their “arms open wide” and have made every attempt at peace, they are willing to sit down “today” at the negotiation table with only a few pre-conditions, which include:

1. The release of “prisoners of freedom” and Palestinians in Israeli prisons without delay.
2. The Palestinian Liberation Organization and its people adhere to the denouncement of violence, rejecting of terrorism in all its forms, especially “State terrorism.”
3. The right to “peacefully protest”Israel’s apartheid policies.

The dramatic speech ended with: “It is very simple. Either there are those who believe we are unnecessary, an unnecessary people… or people who believe we a missing state that needs to be established.”

Israel Political Brief September 22, 2011: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians Formally Statehood Recognition from the UN / United Nations




By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings and JBuzz. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish Studies at Concordia University.


Palestinians Formally Request U.N. Membership: Resisting American pressure, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority formally requested full United Nations membership on Friday as a path toward statehood, rejecting arguments by the United States and Israel that it was not a substitute for direct negotiations for peace in the Middle East.
Mr. Abbas handed a letter requesting the membership to Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General, before delivering his speech at the annual General Assembly. Mr. Ban was submitting the request to the Security Council…. – NYT, 9-23-11


  • Abbas stakes Palestinian claim to state at U.N.: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to recognize a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move.
    “We extend our hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peacemaking,” Abbas said in a speech setting out his case to the U.N. General Assembly, which greeted him with a standing ovation…. – Reuters, 9-23-11
  • Palestinian leader asks UN to recognize state: The Palestinian president on Friday formally asked the United Nations to recognize a state of Palestine, defying U.S. and Israeli opposition. The application risks a threatened American veto, and sidesteps nearly two decades of troubled negotiations…. – AP, 9-23-11
  • Palestinians Set to Submit Bid for Membership to the United Nations: Abbas is scheduled to speak around noon ET Friday. Three speakers later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also slated to address the U.N. General Assembly…. – PBS Newshour, 9-23-11
  • Abbas asks for statehood: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for statehood recognition at the United Nations.
    Abbas handed his application to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday morning, shortly ahead of his planned speech to the General Assembly.
    The request will to the Security Council, where it requires a nine-vote majority to pass. However, any of the five permanent Security Council nations can veto it, and the United States has vowed to exercise its veto.
    In that case, Abbas has said, he will take his case to the General Assembly, where he will ask for enhanced status…. – JTA, 9-23-11
  • Abbas Already Presented Official Request to UN: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has already presentedpalestinian poster the official request for full membership of the United Nations body to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon.
    The request was presented just moments before Abbas is scheduled to take the floor and address the General Assembly, requesting full membership for “Palestine.”
    Thousands are gathered in the streets of the Palestinian territories, watching the speech on enormous screens, and waving Palestinian flags. In Ramallah, one man dressed as Yassar Arafat walked around the town to strengthen the “national spirit.”… – Virtual Jerusalem, 9-23-11
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