Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech this evening (Tuesday) to the UN General Assembly, which was delivered by digital means in the face of the corona plague.
“Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Middle East is not known as a place that brings good news, and few expected this year to be any different. After all, the plague is raging in this part of the world just like everywhere else.
But I’m happy to say that this year I have good news from the Middle East. In fact, I can report two good news. Earlier this month, at a ceremony hosted by President Trump at the White House, Israel signed historic agreements with the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
This is the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab state in more than a quarter of a century, and this is the first time that agreements between Israel and two Arab states have been signed on the same day. These new agreements will bring to our people the blessings of peace and the immense benefits inherent in increasing cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, transportation, tourism and many other fields.
I have no doubt that soon, even very soon, more Arab and Muslim countries will join the peace circle.
The good news about peace comes following a sharp change of direction from the failed formulas of the past. For too long, the Palestinians have in fact vetoed peace between Israel and the wider Arab world. For decades, all progress was halted and held hostage to the unrealistic demands of the Palestinians, such as the demand that Israel withdraw to the 1967, defenseless lines, and leave its security in the hands of others; Or the demand that Israel evict tens of thousands of Jews from their homes and in fact carry out ethnic cleansing; Or Israel will absorb millions of Palestinians who are the descendants of refugees from a war that the Palestinians launched against Israel more than half a century ago.
Needless to say, no responsible Israeli government can accede to these demands. For many years, however, many in the international community sought to succumb to the ridiculous demands of the Palestinians, and as a result, wasted precious time trying to promote an unrealistic illusion instead of striving for a practical solution.
Fortunately, President Trump has chosen a different path to peace – a path that is rooted in reality. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and he proposed a practical peace plan that recognizes Israel’s right, addresses Israel’s security needs, and gives the Palestinians a dignified and realistic path forward if they make peace with Israel.
Critics have argued that each of these measures by President Trump will eliminate the chances of peace. Well, they were wrong, a serious mistake. These measures promoted peace. Two Arab states have now decided to make peace with Israel, and more will follow.
The expanding circle of peace not only does not harm the chances of achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but increases it. Palestinian leaders will recognize that they no longer have a right to veto peace and progress in our region, and I sincerely hope that these leaders will eventually decide to make peace with the Jewish state.
When that happens, Israel will be ready. I will be right and willing to negotiate on the basis of the Trump plan to end the conflict between us and the Palestinians once and for all.
Ladies and gentlemen, Israel and countries around the Arab world stand together not only in promoting peace. We stand together in the face of the greatest enemy of peace in the Middle East – Iran. Iran is deliberately initially attacking its neighbors repeatedly unrestrained, and its terrorist envoys are directly involved in aggression throughout the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza and of course Lebanon.
We have all seen the horrific explosion at the port of Beirut that took place last month. (The explosion occurred here) This is the port in Beirut. Two hundred people lost their lives, thousands were injured and a quarter of a million people became homeless.
And here the next explosion may occur (slide map). This is the Janah neighborhood in Beirut, it is adjacent to the international airport, and here Hezbollah holds a secret weapons depot. This warehouse is located next to a gas company, these are gas tanks, right here. It is a few meters from a gas station and 50 meters from a gas company. There are more gas trucks here. And all this is in a civilian residential center, and civilian houses. For the citizens of the Janah neighborhood, these are the coordinates (waypoints).
And I want to show you the entrance to Hezbollah’s missile plant, because that’s what it is. This is the gas company, and here’s the explosive missile depot.
I say to the people of Janah, you must act now. You have to protest against it. Because if this warehouse explodes, there will be another tragedy here.
And to the citizens of Lebanon, I say, Israel has no intention of harming you, but Iran has. Iran and Hezbollah deliberately put you and your families in grave danger. You must make it clear that what they are doing is not acceptable. You must require them to remove these warehouses.
Just a few days ago, such a warehouse exploded in Ein Qana in southern Lebanon. For this reason, the international community must insist that Hezbollah ceases to use Lebanon and its citizens as human defenders.
Ladies and gentlemen, we must face Iran, and President Trump deserves full appreciation for doing just that. First and foremost, I commend President Trump for withdrawing from the failed nuclear deal with Iran.
In 2015, I was the only one of the world leaders to oppose the shameful nuclear deal made with Iran. I opposed him because not only did he not block Iran’s path to the bomb, he actually paved it. I opposed it because the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program were only temporary and were not conditioned in any way on a change in Iran’s behavior. And now Iran has even violated the temporary restrictions. Due to these violations, in a few months Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce two nuclear bombs. And Iran is now working on developing a new generation of centrifuges, the IR9, that will double its enrichment capabilities by 50 times.
ladies and gentlemen,
There is no question that Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. The Iranian nuclear archive, which Israeli agents managed to get their hands on in the heart of Tehran, proves this beyond any doubt.
In the period leading up to the signing of the nuclear agreement, Israel, especially by our European friends, was promised that any violation of Iran would be met with a swift and sharp response. However, the Security Council did not point a finger at Iran’s blatant violations and the solid evidence in the nuclear archives. The Security Council, which is committed to the failed nuclear deal, still refuses to see what was clear to anyone who understands anything about the Middle East.
Instead of curbing Iran’s aggression, the nuclear deal will fuel it and fund it. Five years ago, when sanctions on Iran were lifted, the world powers opened the door of the tiger cage, and then simply hoped for the best. But just as I warned five years ago, we – the people who live in the Middle East – suffer from the consequences of this promiscuous agreement. Iran, richer and more powerful, has used the billions that flowed into the state coffers to fuel its carnage and occupation campaign across the region.
Fortunately, President Trump saw the disastrous nuclear deal as it really is, and acted. He reinstated US sanctions and forced countries to choose between doing business with America and doing business with Iran. He even eliminated the most dangerous terrorist in the world, Qassem Suleimani. Last month, when the Security Council refused to extend the arms embargo on Iran, the United States reactivated the sanctions mechanism.
While the Security Council is divided, we are in a united region. Arabs and Israelis alike are calling for strong action against Iran – and when Arabs and Israelis agree on something – others should pay attention.
Israel calls on all members of the Security Council to stand by the United States in the face of Iranian aggression, to stand with it on the end of Iran’s nuclear program once and for all, and to face together with the United States the greatest danger to peace in our region.
If you do, I’m sure we’ll hear more good news from the Middle East in the coming years.
Good news for Israel, good news for our Arab neighbors and good news for the world, for all who strive for peace, security and prosperity. “
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