Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu on Tuesday said the United Nations has been unrelentingly hostile toward Israel and urged the United States to veto resolutions that aim to pressure Israel into a settlement with the Palestinians.
In a video address from Jerusalem beamed into the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting in Washington, Netanyahu said Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Brussels was part of a worldwide assault by radical Islamists, including a wave of knife attacks by Palestinians against Israelis.
“Such an effort in the U.N. would only convince the Palestinians that they could stab their way to a state,” said Netanyahu. “Mind you, not a state next to Israel but a state instead of Israel.”
Multiple efforts have been made over the years for the United Nations to recognize the establishment of a Palestinian state, but the United States has repeatedly blocked those attempts in the Security Council. But some former diplomats have said the Obama administration should consider before leaving office a way to lay out a pathway to a future settlement, possibly through a U.N. resolution.
Netanyahu said a history of anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations makes it an inappropriate venue. “In the U.N., Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy, is slandered like no other country on Earth,” said Netanyahu, adding that Israel has been “hounded” by U.N. agencies seeking to delegitimize its existence.
“A Security Council resolution to pressure Israel would further harden Palestinian positions and thereby could actually kill the chances of peace for many, many years,” he said. “That is why I hope the United States will maintain its long-standing position to reject such a U.N. resolution.”
Netanyahu said peace is achievable only through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and he laid out the basic parameters: “The best formula for achieving peace remains two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state finally recognizes the Jewish state.”
Allowing that some are skeptical of his commitment to a two-state solution, he said he would begin negotiations “any time, anywhere” with no preconditions.
“But President Abbas is not ready to do so,” he said, referring to the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. “There’s political will here in Jerusalem. There’s no political will in Ramallah.”
Netanyahu accused Abbas of inculcating Palestinian children with a “murderous hatred of Jews.” He showed a video of a young girl saying, “My toys are the rock and the rifle,” and another of what appeared to be a preschool-aged girl saying, “Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab. Stab,” after which she pulled out a knife and brandished it with a smile for the camera.
“If the international community really wants to advance peace, it must demand that the Palestinians stop poisoning the minds of their children,” Netanyahu said. “If the international community wants to advance peace, it must address the true core of the conflict – the persistent Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state in any borders.”
Netanyahu also addressed the Iran nuclear agreement, which he vigorously opposed, most dramatically in an appearance before Congress last year. He urged both opponents and supporters of the deal to work together to hold Iran accountable for a series of missile tests it has held in apparent defiance of a U.N. resolution that “calls on” Iran not to conduct ballistic-missile tests for at least eight years. Iran claims its tests, conducted by the Revolutionary Guard Corps that runs its aerospace program, do not violate the nuclear accord because the missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
Netanyahu noted that one missile, shown on state television in Iran, bore the words “Israel must be wiped out.”
He ended his speech by introducing a short video showing the launch of a defensive Arrow anti-ballistic missile jointly developed by the United States and Israel.
“Iran should remember that today, it’s not only the enemies of the Jewish people who have arrows,” he said. “Today, the Jewish state can defend itself with powerful arrows of our own.”
Just before Netanyahu spoke, four of AIPAC’s leaders took the stage to denounce remarks made at the conference Monday night, when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized President Obama. Trump said Obama “may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me.”
AIPAC President Lillian Pinkus read a statement disavowing the attacks on Obama, saying they caused “deep offense.”
“While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the president of the United States and our president, Barack Obama,” she said, her voice at times quivering with emotion.
Pinkus also criticized those in the audience who had applauded some of Trump’s remarks.
“There are people in our AIPAC family who were deeply hurt last night, and for that, we are deeply sorry,” Pinkus said. “We are disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with or condone.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Carol Morello