Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a powerful and sobering speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 29th. He said he came from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of the Israeli people and to “expose the brazen lies spoken from this very podium against my country and the brave soldiers who defend it.”
“Truth must always be spoken, especially here, in the United Nations,” the prime minister said to an audience of government leaders and delegates not used to hearing the truth spoken in the UN on issues relating to the Jewish state.
Israel’s leader emphasized that his country’s fight against Hamas was part of the larger global fight against “militant Islam” which is “on the march.” He added that “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.” They share a “fanatical creed,” which they ultimately seek to impose on the world.
“The Nazis believed in a master race, militant Islamists believe in a master faith; they just disagree on who will be the master of the master faith,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “The question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its violent ambitions.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu backed up his melding of ISIS and Hamas with quotes from leaders of both jihadist groups, proving their common violent ambitions. Islamic State head al-Baghdadi said that a day will come when the world will see Islam as a master who will destroy the idol of democracy. Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’s political leader, said: “Our nation will sit on the throne of the world.”
The truth about Hamas does not faze Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Last week he wasted an opportunity, in his own UN General Assembly speech, to publicly distance the Palestinian Authority from the ISIS look-alike, Hamas. Instead of unequivocally condemning Hamas’s crimes against humanity in launching rocket attacks against Israeli civilians while using Palestinian children and other civilians as human shields, Palestinian President Abbas served as Hamas’s mouthpiece on the global stage. He was Hamas’s propaganda sword and shield, falsely accusing Israel of committing “genocide” and “absolute war crimes” in Gaza.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s rebuttal to Abbas’s blood libel was right to the point. Holding up a picture of a rocket launcher in Gaza next to children playing, taken by a French news photographer, he delivered this message to President Abbas:
Ladies and gentleman, this is a war crime, and I say to president Abbas these are the crimes, the war crimes committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government you created and which you are responsible for … and which you should have spoken out against in your speech last week.
In remarks to the press before Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered his General Assembly speech, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Abbas had “lost his way.” Mr. Lieberman characterized Abbas’s speech as a “message of hatred and incitements,” and expressed doubts as to Abbas’s “legitimacy” to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people.
In further rebuttal to Abbas’s lies, Mr. Netanyahu listed in his speech the unprecedented steps that Israel took, at risk to the lives of its own troops, to minimize civilian casualties during the Gaza war. And he challenged the General Assembly audience to consider how they would react if their towns were under attack by a barrage of rockets, forcing their citizens to seek cover with only seconds to spare.
The prime minister said that the UN Human Rights Council, which he characterized as an “oxymoron,” was helping Hamas in its propaganda war. Its singular condemnation of Israel, while giving Hamas a pass on it use of civilians as human shields, earned it the title “terrorist rights council.”
Turning to Iran, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned about the smooth-talking charm offensive of Iran’s president and foreign minister, which masked the Iranian regime’s relentless drive to become a nuclear armed state while getting the sanctions lifted. He accused the Iranian regime of playing games to “bamboozle its way to an agreement that will leave it with thousands of centrifuges. The world’s most dangerous regime will obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
The prime minister said that it was not enough for the world to focus its attention on ISIS and destroy it, as important as that goal is to achieve. The world must not lose sight of the overriding threat of a nuclear armed Iran.
“To disarm ISIS but leave Iran with the bomb would be to win the battle but lose the war,” he said, drawing applause from supporters of Israel in the General Assembly hall gallery but only silence from the world leaders and delegates seated at their desks on the main floor. “Would you let ISIS enrich uranium … develop ICBMs? Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn’t let Iran do those things either,” he added.
Mr. Netanyahu mocked Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s lament last week in his General Assembly speech about the rise of terrorism in the world, which Rouhani blamed on the West. The Israeli prime minister called this double-talk, coming from the president of a leading state sponsor and practitioner of global terrorism. “You can ask him to call off Iran’s global terror campaign,” the prime minister declared.
Israel wants peace, Prime Minister Netanyahu said. However, Israel also insists on “rock solid security arrangements.” Israel saw what happened after it vacated Lebanon and Gaza, as “militant” Islamists filled the void and unleashed their weapons of terror against Israeli civilians. He said that “as prime minister of Israel I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the survival of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. I will not waver.”
Finally, Mr. Netanyahu expressed some hope that “Peace can be realized with the active involvement of Arab countries.” He said that there is “a new Middle East” in which the Arab countries can play an “indispensable” role in helping bring about a genuine peace with the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded his General Assembly speech quoting from the Prophet Isaiah: “for the sake of Zion I will not be silent, for the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still.” And then he called upon the assembled world leaders and delegates to “light a torch of truth and justice to light our future.”
As the prime minister was finishing his speech and about to leave the podium, loud applause could be heard in the General Assembly hall. But, as normally happens at the UN, the slander and lies against the Jewish state will continue long after Mr. Netanyahu’s speech and the applause become a faint memory.
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