Netanyahu and Abbas speak at Paris Climate Change Conference

PM focuses on Israel’s advances and contributions, while Abbas focuses speech on Palestinians and negotiations

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Over 150 world leaders gathered for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, France Monday for a 12-day conference focused on environmental issues and policy. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas both spoke at the Conference on Monday, making headlines for shaking hands for the first time in over five years.

Prime Minister Netanyahu speech focused on Israel’s advances and development in environmental technology and water efficiency, praising the countries innovation and excellence in its 67 years of existence. He stated that “Israel is a small country with big ideas” and that Israel’s goal is to “optimize our resources, optimize the way we allocate our resources.”

Speaking before global leaders on Israel’s largest resource struggle, water, he stated, “We are a world leader in making the use of water more efficient, therefore more energy efficient. Israel is the number one recycler of water in the world. It has the highest ratio of water efficiency in the world, 70-80%, this is thanks to innovative technologies like drip irrigation, which I know many of you are familiar with.”

While Prime Minister Netanyahu focused his speech on Israel contributions and advances in alternative energy, technology and water efficiency, Abbas accused Israel of destroying Palestinian resources and spoke on the Palestinian struggle and peace process.

President Abbas claimed that because of Israel “resources are being usurped, our trees are being uprooted, our agriculture is being destroyed.” Abbas went on to state, “Our meeting today coincides with the commemoration of 68 years of UN Resolution 181, stipulating the division of historic Palestine, to remind you of your responsibility in the implementation of this resolution and to our Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.” On the peace process he went on to state, “It is no longer necessary to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations, especially after successive Israeli governments have undermined all peace chances. This leads us to reaffirm once again that we cannot unilaterally continue in the commitment of implementing the peace process agreements.”