September 29, 2014 — New York, NY
AJC hailed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address today to the UN General Assembly.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu powerfully spoke truth to power to the other 192 members of the United Nations,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
Netanyahu warned that Iran is proceeding on track to build a nuclear weapon. Moreover, he asserted that its revolutionary Islamist ideology is not dissimilar to ISIS and other militant jihadist groups that have violently emerged across the region.
“There is only one responsible course of action… Iran’s nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled,” said Netanyahu. “To defeat ISIS and allow Iran to remain a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.”
Regarding the P5+1 talks with Iran and looming November 24 deadline, Netanyahu cautioned that “the Islamic Republic is now trying to bamboozle its way to an agreement” that would lift sanctions while leaving in place thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium. “In the future, at the time of its choosing, Iran, the world’s most dangerous regime, in the world’s most dangerous region, would obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he said.
Netanyahu warned that the war Israel fought against Hamas during the summer is not unlike the battles waged by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree,” said Netanyahu. Further, he accused Hamas of using civilians, including children, as shields, noting “these are the real war crimes.”
The Israeli Prime Minister challenged each UN member state to consider what it would do if faced with thousands of rockets and missiles, terror tunnels and precious little time for its citizens to seek shelter.
“Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just Israel’s fight. It is your fight,” Netanyahu declared. “Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.”
The Israeli leader sharply criticized Palestinian Authority President Abbas’s UN speech, which the U.S. government had earlier called “counterproductive” and “offensive,” as well as the PA’s partnership with Hamas. At the same time, Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to seek a negotiated, sustainable peace, and challenged Arab countries to join Israel in advancing the peace process.
Arab states have an “indispensable role” to play in “advancing peace with the Palestinians,” said Netanyahu. “Many long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace would facilitate a rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world. These days it can work the other way around,” he said. “A broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
“I’m ready to make an historic compromise. I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people,” said Netanyahu, adding that it must be a “genuine peace” with “rock-solid security arrangements” on the ground. Israel, he added, cannot risk having “territories from which it withdraws taken over by Islamic militants yet again,” as happened with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
“Let’s hope Prime Minister Netanyahu’s clear, crisp and compelling messages are heard,” Harris concluded, “for the security of individual nations and the region are very much at stake. May his eloquent speech serve as a clarion call for the dangers that lurk – and also for the opportunities at hand.”