Netanyahu described Israel's growing ties with nations around the world—including several Arab states—and predicted that the Jewish state's innovations in agriculture, high-tech, and cybersecurity would make it an increasingly indispensable partner, ultimately leading to enhanced respect for Israel at the UN itself.
He called on the UN member states to end their obsessive bias against Israel expressed in ritualistic resolutions condemning the Jewish state, and recognize instead that many of the same countries gathering in the General Assembly hall are enjoying collaborative relations with Israel, and that their number is growing.
"The biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place in the Arab world," he emphasized. "For the first time in my lifetime, countries in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy but is their ally."
In his forward-looking, positive assessment, Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to achieving a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, and not through New York," he said, referring to the Palestinian leadership's ongoing efforts to enlist the UN to pressure Israel.
"I am ready to begin negotiations today," referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu. "I invite you to come and speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem, and I would gladly speak at the Parliament in Ramallah."
Netanyahu also stressed Israel's position in the global fight against Islamist terror and its unique role as a bastion of democracy and equal rights in the Middle East, where fanaticism and autocracy flourish.
AJC Chief Executive Officer Director David Harris noted the striking contrast between the prime minister's remarks and those of President Abbas, who addressed the General Assembly shortly before the Israeli leader.
"While Mr. Abbas still seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the State of Israel by demanding an apology from Great Britain for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917 supporting the idea of a Jewish homeland, and by evading bilateral talks in favor of international pressure on Israel, Mr. Netanyahu declared a willingness to meet with Mr. Abbas immediately to begin negotiations toward a two-state solution," Harris said.
"Today," he noted, "UN member states had the opportunity to see that Israel seeks peace, while, tragically, 68 years after Israel's rebirth, the Palestinian leadership still cannot reconcile itself to the very existence of the State of Israel."
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee