Netanyahu meets with Hillary Clinton

PM finishes US tour, meets with Trump and Clinton; Netanyahu: No matter what the election results, next U.S. president will continue strong alliance with Israel

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with United States presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just hours following his meeting with Donald Trump on Sunday. Both Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer and Clinton’s senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan were present during the meeting.

There were few reports given of either meeting, but Clinton’s campaign stated that their meeting focused on Clinton’s commitment to Israel’s security as well as discussion on Iran, Syria and a two-state solution. Her campaign stated that Hillary affirmed that “a strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States’ and ‘reaffirmed unwavering commitment’ to the relationship.

The Office of Prime Minister Netanyahu stated on their meeting “Prime Minter Netanyahu discussed with Secretary Clinton a broad range of issues relating to advancing peace and stability in the Middle East as well as the potential for economic growth through technological innovation.”

Following his meetings with Clinton and Trump, Netanyahu addressed Israeli press stating that “It is important for Israeli citizens to know no matter the election results we will have a friend in the White House. The next president will continue the strong alliance between Israel and the United States.”

On his tour in the United States, which included meetings with over 15 African leaders, President Obama and his address before the General Assembly, Netanyahu stated “We broke down the automatic block against us affecting our position in the United Nations. I want to break down our isolation in the international arena.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Donald Trump in New York

Talks addressed regional threats, US-Israel cooperation, particularly in areas of security and defense; Netanyahu to meet Clinton Sunday

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in New York Sunday morning. Their meeting comes ahead of a meeting between Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton scheduled for later Sunday.

Their meeting centered on improving Israel-US relations, in particular in Israel’s “hi-tech and biotech economy”, security and cyber defense. They both addressed regional threats, particularly nuclear Iran and ISIS. They additionally discussed “Israel’s successful experience with a security fence”

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Office released the following statement on their meeting “Prime Minister Netanyahu presented Israel’s positions on regional issues related to Israel’s security and efforts to achieve peace and stability. Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Mr. Trump for his friendship and support of Israel.”

The meeting reportedly lasted over an hour and a half, the Trump campaign stating on their meeting “Mr. Trump recognized that Israel and its citizens have suffered far too long on the front lines of Islamic terrorism. He agreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Israeli people want a just and lasting peace with their neighbors, but that peace will only come when the Palestinians renounce hatred and violence and accept Israel as a Jewish State…. Finally, Mr. Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3000 years, and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu met with 15 African leaders during United Nations General Assembly

PM and Ambassador Danon held event on Israeli technology, startups and innovation; Meeting held with 15 heads of states and leaders from African nations; Netanyahu met with President of Chad

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with African officials and heads of state from 15 African nations over the weekend during the United Nations General Assembly, as Israel continues to strengthen and increase its diplomatic and cooperative relations with African states. The event focused on increasing cooperation in the areas of security and technology with African nations.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon was part of the event that presented Israeli innovations, technology and Israeli startups to world leaders, the event most attended by African leaders and diplomats.

Over the weekend, Netanyahu met with the presidents of Benin, Central Africa Republic, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Tonga and Uganda, as well as the Prime Minister of Sot and of Swaziland, as well as officials from Burundi, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.

He also met privately with President Idriss Deby of Chad, ties between Israel and Chad cut off since 1972. Relations between Chad and Israel are improving, Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold having visited Chad by invitation in July, the first visit by an Israeli official to Chad since severed relations. Media reports claim an announcement of resumed ties will likely occur in the near future.

Netanyahu stated during the meeting “Africa excites our [Israel’s] imagination. We would like to propose a friendship and a partnership with every one of your countries.” He spoke of Israel’s advances in technology and security and how much Israel can contribute to Africa, stating “I believe that Israel can be an amazing partner for your countries. Technology changes everything. And technology is related to so many areas: to healthcare, agriculture, education, and so much more. We want to share our knowledge and technology with the world.” He called from cooperation “government to government” and company to company” in both security and technology in what “will shape the future of our peoples.” He ended by personally inviting “all of you to Israel, to Jerusalem” adding that he looks forward to continuing the conversation at the ECOWAS in Uganda.

Ambassador Danon stated on the event “Israel continues to focus on technologies and innovations that led us to our status as the ‘startup nation’. Our partnership with Africa and the developing world is based not just on the trade of goods, but on the young human capital that is filled with the desire to change the world for the better. Diplomatic and economic relations between Israel, Africa and the developing world are in full swing, and we encourage Israeli companies to continue to invest in Africa and developing countries.”

The event comes following Prime Minister Netanyahu visit to four African states (Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia) during his Africa tour in July. During his visit, he met with heads of state from seven states. Several leaders have voiced commitment and favor in restoring Israel’s observer status in the African Union.

During Netanyahu’s debrief following his Africa tour, he stated on his meeting with seven leaders from Africans states that they have “agreed to act to strengthen our links with additional African countries. They declared that they would work to restore Israel as an observer to the African Union, which is composed of 54 countries. Even though this is a process that will take time, there is no doubt that this is the start of a long journey toward dealing with the automatic majority against Israel in international forums, an automatic majority that rests, first and foremost, on a bloc of African countries. This will not be achieved immediately. It will take a lot of time, but we have begun the process.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to attend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Nigeria at the end of 2016.

Netanyahu’s address before the United Nations General Assembly

Netanyahu address at UNGA following Abbas, speaks of regional threats, Israel’s growing and increasing diplomatic relations; Invited Abbas to address Knesset; Netanyahu: I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel at the UN is over.

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Netanyahu’s full address:

What I’m about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN.

Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic State of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet. Israel: twenty; rest of the world: three.

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined. As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN’s Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel. Where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as Speaker of the Knesset and Prime Minister.

And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe but UNESCO just denied the 4,000 year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That’s just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China…

The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you’d probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well think again. You see, everything will change and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that’s going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.

More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That’s nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel’s ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth.

Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.

Many also seek to benefit from Israel’s ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.

You might consider this: Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well, given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world, and we do, there’s no better ally than Israel.

How about cybersecurity? That’s an issue that affects everyone. Israel accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population, yet last year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cybersecurity. I want you to digest that number. In cyber, Israel is punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help.

Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel because they know that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them, can help them better their lives.

This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. This is the first visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I’ll be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We’ll discuss how Israeli technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries.

In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that, despite Israel’s small size, it can make a big difference in many, many areas that are important to them.

But now I’m going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It’s taking place in the Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors of stability in the volatile Middle East. But I have to tell you this: For the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals, work together openly.

So Israel’s diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth. Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful. The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And a central pillar of that defense has been America’s consistent support for Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama’s commitment to that longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United Nations.

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many, many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end…

Today’s automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story, the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn’t happen until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended. For decades, Hiroo refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle, Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo’s former commanding officer was sent to persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms…

I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don’t know it yet, but I am confident that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended. Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.

But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence that in the years ahead the revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN. But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep vilifying Israel? Perhaps because some of you don’t appreciate that the obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country, it’s a problem for your countries too. Because if the UN spends so much time condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other serious problems that plague the planet.

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan Heights border with Syria. Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in our streets and serve in our parliament, including I’m proud to say in my own Likud party. Are the starving children in North Korea’s brutal tyranny, are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural knowhow is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world?

The sooner the UN’s obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself…

If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He’s preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That’s almost 100 years ago – talk about being stuck in the past. The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago? You’re not laughing. It’s as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here?

President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland. Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary. You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when Judea Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands. The West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again. And when we uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of Gaza, we didn’t get peace from Gaza – we got thousands of rockets fired at us from Gaza.

This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements they’re after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be resolved in final status negotiations. But this conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel is ready, I am ready to negotiate all final status issues but one thing I will never negotiate: Our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow! Sustained applause for the Prime Minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought.

Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.

Now here’s the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future.

I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I’ll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.

When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he’d detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas’s adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here’s a quote, “to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them.” Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas’s Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a “heroic act”. On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Direct quote.

Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison? Here’s what she tells him. She tells him he’d be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he’d get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority…

All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour. This is child abuse. Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don’t. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?

We in Israel don’t do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace.

Of course, like all societies Israel has fringe elements. But it’s our response to those fringe elements, it’s our response to those fringe elements that makes all the difference.

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I’ll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him.

No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside I told his uncle, “This is not our people. This is not our way.” I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed’s assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial.

Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict. But what Ahmed’s story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists among them.

So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples…

I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know – I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace.

I commend President el-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region. Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it. I’m ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today.

President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another? President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah…

While Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here. It runs through Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery: Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others.

Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear, a life of peace, a life of hope.

But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly. We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than fear.

We can do this… Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS, we prevent the smuggling of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, we thwart Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and we deter missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

That’s the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, are here with us today. They have one request – to bury their beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to visit the grave of their fallen son Hadar in Israel. Hamas refuses. They couldn’t care less.

I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that’s decent in our world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric. Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them.

The greatest threat to my country, to our region, and ultimately to our world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks Israel’s annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it sponsors terror worldwide.

This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism continued to build its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents.

So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind us, it’s before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and united effort to push back against Iran’s aggression and Iran’s terror. With the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

I stand before you today at a time when Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel’s founding fathers, one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him “refuah shlemah” Shimon, a speedy recovery.

I’ve always admired Shimon’s boundless optimism, and like him, I too am filled with hope. I am filled with hope because Israel is capable of defending itself by itself against any threat. I am filled with hope because the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with hope because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over the forces of terror. I am filled with hope because in the age of innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I am filled with hope because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. And I am filled with hope because despite all the naysayers, I believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all our neighbors.

I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I’ve seen what Israel has accomplished. In 1948, the year of Israel’s independence, our population was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive, let alone thrive. The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics are wrong about Israel now.

Israel’s population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world’s computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

The future belongs to those who innovate and this is why the future belongs to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel, dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the nations. Thank you.

 

 

 

Abbas addresses United Nations General Assembly

Abbas uses platform to accuse Israel of extrajudicial killings, ongoing occupation and varied human rights abuses; Announces unified efforts by Arab nations to press forward with Arab Peace plan

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday morning ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address. Abbas took the opportunity to accuse Israel of extrajudicial executions colonization, military occupation and varied and diverse human rights abuses, announcing new efforts by “Arab nations” in achieving statehood for the Palestinians.

Abbas gave a detailed and long speech in which he accused Israel of historical and ongoing abuse and occupation of the Palestinian people, with no mention or responsibility taken for terror or conflict with the State of Israel. He claimed that Israel continues its “aggressions against our Muslim and Christian holy sites”, as well as called for the United Nations to “provide international protection for the Palestinian people, suffering under occupation since 1967 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip”.

Abbas called for support for the Arab peace plan and promised to “continue to exert all efforts for a Security Council resolution on the settlements and the terror of the settlers, and we are undertaking extensive consultations with the Arab countries and other friendly countries on this matter,” adding that “We hope no one will cast a veto.”

Abbas’s full address:

“I had hoped that I would not have been compelled to make this statement today, hoping that the cause of my people would have been justly resolved, would have been genuinely heard, and that hearts and consciences would have acted to lift them from oppression. As you all are aware, we have accepted the primacy and judgment of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy, and made a historic and immense sacrifice, when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, accepted to establish the State of Palestine on the 4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

What more can be asked of us? We remain committed to the agreements reached with Israel since 1993. However, Israel must reciprocate this commitment and must act forthwith to resolve all of the final status issues. It must cease all of its settlement colonization activities and aggressions against our cities, villages and refugee camps.  It must cease its policies of collective punishment and its demolition of Palestinian homes.  It must cease its extrajudicial executions and cease the arrest of our people, and must release the thousands of our prisoners and detainees.  It must cease its aggression and provocations against the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.  For all of these policies and practices prevent an environment in which peace can be realized in our region.

How can anyone seeking peace perpetrate such actions? In this regard, we reaffirm that we can never accept the continuation of the prevailing situation. We will never accept the humiliation of the dignity of our people.  We will never accept temporary or interim solutions.  And, our people will never accept to forgo their national institutions and achievements, which they attained through great sacrifice, suffering and pain.  We will preserve the independence of Palestinian decision-making and will act to fulfill the aspirations of our people via political and diplomatic means and international law and the legitimacy of international resolutions via the United Nations and all international forums, and we will seek to mobilize Arab and international efforts towards this end. We will not accept the continuation of the prevailing situation.

The 1993 Oslo Accords were intended to the end of the occupation and achieve the independence of the State of Palestine within five years.  Yet, Israel reneged on the agreements it signed and, to this moment, persists with its occupation and continues to expand its illegal settlement enterprise, which undermines realization of the two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders.

Does Israel want one state? Despite the Security Council’s adoption of 12 resolutions condemning Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967, none of these resolutions has been implemented, encouraging Israel to continue pursuing its plans for the seizure of more Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with impunity.  The violent actions of Israeli settlers have reached the extent of the formation of terrorist groups that burn and kill entire families, destroy properties, and uproot the trees that are the livelihoods of Palestinian families.

Israel’s disrespect and contemptuous policies have even lead to attempts to “legalize” the settlements and the settlers colonizing our occupied land since 1967.  It even led to the point of the Israeli Prime Minister claiming that the call for cessation of settlements and their dismantlement and evacuating settlers constitutes “ethnic cleansing”.  All such attempts are null and void and constitute clear grave breaches under international law.

So, who then is perpetrating ethnic cleansing? In this regard, I am compelled to again warn that what the Israeli government is doing in pursuit of its expansionist settlement plans will destroy whatever possibility and hopes are left for the two-state solution on the 1967 borders.

The settlements are illegal in every aspect and any manifestation. We will therefore continue to exert all efforts for a Security Council resolution on the settlements and the terror of the settlers, and we are undertaking extensive consultations with the Arab countries and other friendly countries on this matter. We hope no one will cast a veto…

Israel’s racial discrimination against the Palestinian people has become a daily reality as it continues to privilege the Israeli settlers on our occupied land, including by granting them permits for residential construction as well as for factories, economic projects and infrastructure such as for road, electricity and water networks. This is happening at the very same time that they are preventing the Palestinian owners of the land from the use of their land and prohibiting them from developing their economy, which is a right of international priority in this era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which no country should be left behind. Military orders continue to be issued to prohibit their use of the majority of their lands in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and the Palestinian shores on the Dead Sea.  And it continues with its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip.  And it continues to illegally alter identity and status of Occupied East Jerusalem and to commit aggressions and provocations against our Christian and Muslim holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The continuation of the Israeli aggressions against our Muslim and Christian holy sites is playing with fire. All of these Israeli policies, actions and measures are the reasons for the failure of all international efforts, particularly that of the international Quartet for the past 13 years, just as Israel has sabotaged the efforts of successive American administrations over the decades.

Here, I must once again appeal to you to provide international protection for the Palestinian people, suffering under occupation since 1967 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.  I extend my appreciation in this regard to the Security Council members who convened an area meeting of the Council to explore the possibilities of international protection for our people, and I urge that these efforts continue. If you do not ensure for us protection, then who will?

Israel today also continues its attempts to evade an international conference for peace, which has been proposed by France and which has received the support of the majority of the world’s countries.  In June of this year a ministerial meeting was held in Paris to prepare for the convening of such a conference and 28 countries, along with three inter-governmental organizations, participated in that meeting.  It remains our hope that such a conference will lead to the establishment of a mechanism and defined timeframe for an end to the occupation in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, the principle of land for peace and the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls, inter alia, for a just and agreed solution for the Palestine refugees in accordance with resolution 194.

We hope that all states of the world will support the convening of this international peace conference before the end of this year. If there will be no international peace conference and no direct negotiations, then how can peace be made?

Instead of Israel acknowledging the atrocities that it has committed and continues to commit against our people, the Israeli Prime Minister has the audacity to criticize Palestine’s statement at the Arab League Summit in Nouakchott because we referred to the Balfour Declaration.  I say to him today that our 1993 recognition of the existence of the State of Israel, a recognition which remains valid to this moment, is not a gratuitous recognition.  Israel must reciprocate with recognition of the State of Palestine and an end to its occupation of the land, so that the State of Palestine can coexist alongside the State of Israel in peace and security and as good neighbors, each within secure and recognized borders.

There is no conflict between us and the Jewish religion and its people.  Our conflict is with the Israeli occupation of our land.  We respect the Jewish religion and condemn the catastrophe that befell the Jewish people in World War II in Europe, and view it as one of the most heinous crimes perpetrated against humanity.

Realization of a historic reconciliation between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples requires that Israel acknowledge its responsibility for the Nakba inflicted on our people to this very day.  This will open a new era of coexistence and will serve to build bridges rather than walls.  I believe that the Arab Peace Initiatives presents a reasonable, serious solution.  Yet Israel continues to insist on being selective, choosing only what it wishes from this Initiative, such as establishment of relations with the Arab countries first without ending its occupation of Palestine. This is definitely a recipe for the continuation of the conflict in our region, and we will not accept this and no one else can accept it.

By the end of this coming year, 100 years will have passed since the Balfour Declaration, and 70 years since Al-Nakba of the Palestinian people, and 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Yes, 100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.  This paved the road for the Nakba of Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land. As if this were not enough, the British Mandate interpreted this Declaration into policies and measures that contributed to the perpetration of the most heinous crimes against a peaceful people in their own land, a people that never attacked anyone or partook in a war against anyone.

Therefore, we ask Britain, as we approach 100 years since this notorious Declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibilities for the consequences of this Declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, miseries and injustices that it created, and to act to rectify this historic catastrophe and remedy its consequences, including by recognition of the State of Palestine.

In addition, Israel, since 1948, has persisted with its contempt for international legitimacy by violating United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 (II), the partition resolution, which called for the establishment of two states on the historic land of Palestine according to a specific partition plan. Israeli forces seized more land than that allotted to Israel, constituting a grave breach of Articles 39, 41 and 42 of the United Nations Charter.  In the preamble of resolution 181 (II), paragraph (c) clearly states: “The Security Council determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution”.

Regrettably, however, the Security Council is not upholding its responsibilities to hold Israel accountable for its seizure of the territory allotted to the Palestinian state according to the partition resolution.  I appeal to you read this resolution once again.

We continue our efforts to build the foundations of a culture of peace among our people.  We stand against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and we condemn it by whomever and wherever.  Our region has been the largest victim of terrorism and has endured its wrath over many years.  We support the unity of people and land and the achievement of political solutions for all of the conflicts in Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere, and we support the efforts of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to strengthen the foundations of legitimacy in brotherly Yemen. We support the efforts to confront terrorism, extremism, sectarianism and violence, and appeal to stand united against terrorism, which knows no religion.

In this context, I wish to reaffirm once again that there is no way to defeat terrorism and extremism and achieve security and stability in our region without ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and ensuring the freedom and independence of the Palestinian people.

We continue our genuine efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation with the formation of a national unity government in accordance with the political platform of the Palestine Liberation Organization and with the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections.  We also continue our efforts to reconstruct Gaza, to alleviate the hardships of our people, and to lift the illegal blockade imposed on them.

Our hand remains outstretched for making peace.  But the question that keeps presenting itself over and over again: is there any leadership in Israel, the occupying power, that desires to make a true peace and that will abandon the mentality of hegemony, expansionism and colonization, and that will recognize the rights of our people and will end the historic injustice inflicted upon them?  It is Israel’s breach of the agreements it has signed and its failure to comply with its obligations that has led us to the deadlock and stalemate that we remain in.

The State of Palestine, an Observer State in the United Nations, is a state under occupation. The Executive Committee of the PLO, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people wherever they may be, acts on behalf of our people and as their government and the Palestine National Council is the parliament of the State of Palestine, as reflected in UN General Assembly resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012.

We continue to rely on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities, and we call on those countries in particular that have harmed the rights of our people to rectify this injustice.  Moreover, we appeal to countries that have not recognized the State of Palestine to do so.

Those who believe in the two-state solution should recognize both states, and not just one of them.

In this 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, I call on you to declare 2017 as the international year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people, as we approach in June 2017 a half century of this abhorrent Israeli occupation.  I also appeal to you, in follow-up the adoption of resolution 67/19 with the adoption of a resolution to enable Palestine to present and cosponsor resolutions beyond the question of Palestine and to support our efforts to enhance Palestine’s legal and political status, including by granting it additional responsibilities to chair committees and international groups, while at the same time we will continue our efforts for full membership in international organizations.

Based on all of the above, the international community is called upon to exert all efforts, more than any other time in the past, to bring an end to the Israeli occupation of the land of the state of Palestine, which, as you all know, is the longest and last occupation in contemporary history.  The international community’s ability to advance the rights of our people and ensure their exercise of those rights and to end the oppression and injustice imposed on them for seven decades would surely constitute a unique opportunity for peace, stability and coexistence to prevail in our region and between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.  This will create a better future for the current generation and generations to follow, and will be the beginning and the basis of ending extremism and violence in our region and the world.

I thank you for your attention and hope from the depths of my heart that the Israeli occupation of our land will end and that we can defeat terrorism and that the conflicts will end and peace will reign in our region and all around the world.  We and our people will continue to open the doors for peace and will do all that we can to realize the freedom and independence of our people.  We will remain steadfast on our land to serve and ensure the future of our next generations.

It is my hope that I will not have to make such a statement again as there is a collective responsibility upon you to ensure that 2017 is the year of ending the occupation.  Will you uphold this responsibility? It is my hope. Peace be upon you.