Israeli and Palestinian Leaders Speak at UN General Assembly
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Sep. 27, 2012. Netanyahu called for global action against Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, while Abbas called for UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
Netanyahu spoke before the UN General Assembly in his latest attempt to rally support for efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In his speech, the Israeli Prime Minister drove his point home using a diagram of a cartoonlike bomb, “which was divided into sections marked 70 percent and 90 percent, representing the amount of progress Iran has made, or will make, toward amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb,” according to the New York Times. Netanyahu drew a red line at the 90 percent mark, a point he claimed the regime will reach by Summer 2013 at the latest. Iran has claimed its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only.
Iran’s Deputy Ambassador, Eshaq al-e-Habib, responded to Netanyahu’s statement by alluding to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell‘s contention before the UN in 2003 that Iraq had developed weapons of mass destruction: “For the second time in the recent history of the United Nations, today an unfounded and imaginary graph was used to justify a threat against a founding member of the United Nations. However, it is worth mentioning that in our increasingly interconnected world and in the information age, it is hardly possible for the nations to be fooled by such absurd means.”
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, called for the acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state of the UN. “In order to enhance the chances for peace,” he said, “we will continue our efforts to obtain full membership for Palestine at the UN. And, for the same purpose, we have begun intensive consultations with various regional organizations and member states aimed at having the General Assembly adopt a resolution considering the State of Palestine as a non-member state of the UN during this session. We are confident that the vast majority of the countries of the world support our endeavor aimed at salvaging the chances for a just peace.”
In Nov. 2011, Israel suspended its monthly transfer of approximately $100 million in customs, border, and income taxes that it collects on behalf of the Palestinians and gives to the PA. This measure was a response to Palestine seeking and receiving full membership to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Oct. 2011.
Associated Press, “Israel’s Netanyahu Says His Call to Action Against Iran ‘Reverberates’ Around the World,” washingtonpost.com, Sep. 28, 2012
Associated Press, “Israel’s Netanyahu Draws His ‘Red Line’ for Iran,” mail.com, Sep. 27, 2012
David Jackson, “Obama Speaks to Netanyahu, Pledges Support of Israel,” content.usatoday.com, Sep. 28, 2012
Isabel Kershner, “Netanyahu’s Bomb Diagram Stirs Confusion in Israel,” nytimes.com, Sep. 28, 2012
Evelyn Leopold, “Israel Tells the White House What to Do on Iran; Palestinians See Last Chance for Two-State Solution,” huffingtonpost.com, Sep. 28, 2012