Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, in a bid to refute the smear campaign launched by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claiming Israel is guilty of “genocide.”
“Distinguished delegates, I come here from Jerusalem to speak on behalf of my people, the people of Israel,” Netanyahu began. “I have come here to speak about the dangers we face [. . ] against the brazen lies about my country and about the people who defend it.”
The Prime Minister emphasized that Israel’s fight against Hamas is a microcosm of the fight against global jihad.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel pray for peace, but those hopes are in danger – because militant Islam is on the rise,” he stated. “No one is spared – Christians, Jews, and Muslims.”
“Their ultimate goal is to dominate the world.”
“That threat may seem exaggerated to some, because it starts out small – like a cancer,” he continued. “But cancer grows, covering a wider and wider area. To protect the security of the world, we must remove the scab, before it’s too late.”
Hamas = ISIS
Netanyahu then noted the hypocrisy of public opinion.
“Last week, many people in the world applauded US President Barack Obama for joining the fight against ISIS,” he stated. “The same countries complained against Israel for fighting Hamas.”
“They don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are the branches of the same poisonous tree,” he continued. “Hamas shares the same militant ambitions of global Islamists.”
Netanyahu compared ISIS and Hamas’s charters, and noted that Hamas cheered when thousands died in the US during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas,” he declared. “And what they share is what all Islamism shares: [. . .] they all have the same ideology, they all seek to establish a global militant Islam – where there is no freedom.”
“To them, anyone can be considered an infidel, including fellow Muslims.”
Netanyahu then compared Hamas, ISIS, and Nazis.
“The Nazis believed in a master race; Islamists believe in a master faith,” Netanyahu said. “The question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize their unbridled ambition.”
Hamas, ISIS, and Iran: same same, new name
Netanyahu then addressed the Iran issue, noting that the Islamic Revolution was based on the decree that the whole world will cry, ‘There is no God but Allah in the entire world.’
Today, the Revolutionary Guards aim to establish an “Islamic World Government,” he notes.
As for the opinion that Iran’s views on this are only fueled by “extremists,” Netanyahu dismissed it as “changing both the ideology and the content” of Iranian governance. He quoted lines from a book by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whereby Rouhani says he has “problems with the West.”
“Don’t be fooled by Iran’s manipulative ‘charm offensive,'” Netanyahu urged. “It’s for one reason only: to remove sanctions, and to lift obstacles to the path of power.”
“This would essentially cement Iran’s place as a threshold nuclear power,” he continued, saying it would “pose the gravest threat to us all.”
“It’s one thing to confront militant Islamists on the back of a pickup truck armed with rifles,” he said. “It’s another to confront militant Islamists with weapons of mass destruction.”
Netanyahu then compared the situation with ISIS to the situation with Syrian chemical weapons, whereby he noted that Syria was disarmed – but ISIS and Iran are not.
“Would you let ISIS build a water reactor? Would you let ISIS have access to nuclear weapons?” he asked. “Of course you wouldn’t, and you should not let the Islamic State of Iran either.”
If so, he says, “the Ayatollah will show their true face and unleash their fanaticism to the entire world.”
“Iran’s military capabilities must be fully dismantled,” he declared, to general applause.
“Make no mistake: ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle and lose the war.”
“Ladies and gentleman, the fight against militant Islam is indivisible,” he continued. “That’s why Israel’s fight against Hamas is not our fight: it’s your fight. Our fight against Hamas today could be your fight tomorrow.”
‘Would you let terrorists fire rockets at your cities?’
Netanyahu then addressed Operation Protective Edge.
“You wouldn’t let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity,” he said. “Nor would you let them dig terror tunnels or kidnap your citizens.”
“Yet Israel faced another challenge: a propaganda war.”
“Hamas cynically used schools – UN schools! – and hospitals, and mosques to house civilians, as Israel surgically struck to eliminate terrorists.”
“We were not [targeting civilians],” Netanyahu fired. “We regret every civilian casualty.”
Netanyahu noted that the IDF took many measures to warn Palestinian civilians ahead of every strike.
“No other army in history has gone to greater lengths to prevent civilian casualties in the population of their enemies,” he noted, to applause. “They upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world.”
“Israel’s army deserves the admiration of decent people everywhere,” he added, to applause.
Redefining ‘war crime’ and ‘human rights council’
Netanyahu also noted Hamas’s executions of Fatah members and dissidents, as well as the terror group’s deliberate use of children as human shields, using a France 24 photo as proof.
“This is a war crime,” he said. “I say to Abbas: there are the war crimes committed by Hamas, under your leadership, under the unity government you head, and these are the war crimes you should have called to investigate last week.”
“The profound moral difference between Israel and Hamas couldn’t have been clearer,” he said. “Israel was using missiles to protect its children, Hamas was using children to protect its missiles.”
“The UNHRC has betrayed its noble principles to protect its enemies,” he continued, noting it is “turning the concept of war upside down.”
“The UNHRC is sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: use civilians as a human shield. Use them again, and again, and again. You know why? Because sadly, it works.”
“Thus, the UNHRC has become a Terrorists’ Human Rights Council,” Netanyahu declared, noting that it “may have already had consequences.”
Netanyahu slammed the UNHRC for dedicating over half of its resolutions against Israel, “where issues are openly debated in our boisterous parliament.”
“The UNHRC is an oxymoron, but I’ll use it just the same,” he said. “Its policies are an extension of the oldest prejudice in the world. It’s a function of diseased minds: it’s called anti-Semitism, which is spreading in polite society, which is being legitimized as a form of criticism against Israel.”
“Genocide? In what moral universe does a country attempt over and over again to get its enemies out of harm’s way? To build field hospitals? To ship tons and tons of aid?”
“The same moral universe where the man who wrote a dissertation denying the Holocaust can stand on the podium and claim Israel commits genocide.”
Israel: standing tall
“Today, Israel will defend itself against her enemies,” Netanyahu continued. “Israel will try its enemies on the courts of public opinion. Israel will stand proud and unbowed.” Applause followed.
“Together, Israel and the world face many of the same dangers,” he noted, including “militant Islam and a nuclear Iran.”
“Our job is to form a partnership over these issues,” he said.
“I believe the partnership between us can also facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added, noting that the “active involvement of Arab countries – those who are willing to provide political, material, and other support – could bring a compromise.”
“The people of Israel are not the occupiers in the land of Israel,” Netanyahu said, citing “history, archaeology, and common sense.”
“I want peace because I believe it will bring a better future for my people,” he said, calling for one which brings “rock-solid security arrangements on the ground.”
“As the Prime Minister of Israel, I am entrusted with the awesome of responsibility of protecting the Jewish people and the Jewish state,” he said. “I will never waver on that responsibility.”
Partnership for peace in the Middle East
“In Israel, we have a record of making the impossible, possible,” Netanyahu said. “We have made the desert flourish. We have led the world in technological innovation.”
But in order for Israel to “reach its full potential,” he said, “the template for peace must change.”
“There is a new Middle East. It has many dangers, but also many opportunities. We are working to work together with our global partners to face those dangers and seize those new opportunities.”
“All of this may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it is the truth,” he said. “And the truth most be spoken – especially here, at the United Nations.”
War of words
Speaking just before takeoff on his way to New York, Netanyahu reiterated his pledge to “refute the lies” against Israel at the UN General Assembly, particularly in the speech by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel of “genocide” and “war crimes”.
“In my speech to the General Assembly, I will refute the lies that are being told about us and I will tell the truth about our state and the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world,” Netanyahu said on the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv before boarding the plane.
Netanyahu’s response will reportedly be “razor sharp,” according to close confidantes of the Prime Minister, who added that it will be “worth the wait.”
On Friday, Abbas made a pathos-laden speech to the UNGA, vowing to prosecute Israel for “war crimes” in International Criminal Court (ICC).
“There is an occupation that must end now,” he claimed. “There is a people that must be freed immediately. The hour of independence of the state of Palestine has arrived.”
He did not set a deadline for fast-tracking to what he claimed would be “Palestinian statehood,” after aides suggested they were eyeing 2017 as a possible date.
Describing Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza as a “genocidal crime,” Abbas pledged: “We will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment.”
Abbas’s speech garnered strong reactions from the U.S. – which called the tirade “offensive” – and from Israeli MKs across the political spectrum.