Netanyahu takes a new tack at UN General Assembly


In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared keen to capitalise on recent Israeli successes at the international forum.

Despite attacking the UN at the beginning of his speech, saying it "began as moral force, and has become a moral farce", he went on to say: “I want to shock you - Israel has a bright future in the UN.”

Referring to recent changes by India and several Sunni Arab states in their public stances on Israel, the Israeli PM said: “I have one message for you today. Lay down your arms - the war against Israel at the UN is over…. The attitudes towards Israel are changing in the Arab world that sees Israel as an ally against Iran.”

Responding to a speech by Mahmoud Abbas in which the PA president said he planned to present the UN Security Council with a resolution against the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Mr Netanyahu said: “For the Palestinians, the real settlements they are after are Tel Aviv and Haifa.”

Mr Abbas, however, did not employ the inflammatory rhetoric against Israel that characterised his previous General Assembly speeches. He stressed that the Palestinians' 1993 recognition of Israel "remains in force," but added that Israel "must reciprocate with similar recognition of Palestine and put an end to the occupation."

In a similarly conciliatory mode, Mr Netanyahu said: “I invite Abbas to speak at the Knesset and I am ready to speak in the parliament in Ramallah.”

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