Here’s how Thursday’s speeches at the UN General Assembly — by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and (first) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — unfolded in our live blog.
PREAMBLE: Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu are both set to address the current UN General Assembly session shortly, with Abbas speaking first, then the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, and then Netanyahu.
Abbas is expected to announce his intention in principle to ask the General Assembly to upgrade Palestine’s status from that of an observer entity to a non-member state — a move opposed by Israel and the US, but one that is much less dramatic than his failed bid last September to have Palestine admitted by the UN Security Council as a full-fledged UN member state.
Jerusalem is staunchly opposed to the Palestinian gambit, with officials insisting that a genuine resolution of the conflict can only result from negotiations between the two sides and not unilateral actions. Israeli leaders know that the 193 member-states of the General Assembly, where no country has a veto right, would overwhelmingly vote in favor of upgrading Palestine.
Abbas has reportedly promised Obama to hold off on formally seeking the upgrade at this week’s GA, and to do so, instead, only after the US presidential elections in November.
Netanyahu was still tweaking his speech en route to New York, having left Israel soon after the end of the Yom Kippur fast.
Shortly before flying out, he castigated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN Wednesday, and those who stayed in the room to hear it. “On the day that we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life,” the prime minister said in reference to Yom Kippur, “the authoritarian Iranian regime takes every opportunity to condemn us to death.”
Officials said his address today will focus primarily on the Iranian threat, and go into detail about Tehran’s nuclear program and the specifics of the advances made by Iran despite international sanctions.
“I will reiterate that the most dangerous country in the world must not be allowed to arm itself with the most dangerous weapon in the world,” Netanyahu said Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu is notably not meeting with President Barack Obama on this visit — scheduling difficulties, the White House said. But latest word from the White House is that the two leaders will speak by phone tomorrow.
While we wait for Abbas — Jamaica’s PM is up now, to be followed by Cape Verde’s president and then Abbas — you might want to read a few of the pieces we’ve carried that relate to this UN General Assembly gathering.
Here’s Haviv Gur on the anti-Ahmadinejad protests at the Iranian president’s Warwick Hotel base. Noted Gur: On Tuesday, while the Iranian president was at meetings in the UN, bicyclists with specially outfitted posters rode around the hotel calling to boycott it. A commenter on the uber-popular recommendations website Yelp noted that “This hotel likes to support regimes committed to destroying the U.S. and other western countries. Its hosting of the delegation this week is yet another example of money over values.”
Guests not attached to the diplomatic delegation were bewildered as they wheeled suitcases past machine gun-armed NYPD police, some on horseback, and through metal detectors at the front entrance.
And here’s a curtain-raiser for today’s speeches by our diplomatic correspondent Raphael Ahren, who flew out to New York on the prime minister’s plane. Noted Ahren: In announcing four weeks ago that he had decided to fly to New York for the gathering — even though it falls inconveniently in the Jewish calendar, beginning on Yom Kippur and ending just ahead of Sukkot — Netanyahu said he was going “to tell the nations of the world in a loud and clear voice the truth about the Iranian regime of terror, which constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”
According to Reuters, Netanyahu, in his speech, won’t contradict Obama’s Tuesday address, but will make plain “the way in which Iran won’t have nuclear arms.” We shall see.
Iran is plainly going to dominate his speech, as it has dominated much of this year’s UN GA conversation.
Abbas, who met Wednesday with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, is a more marginal figure than he was last year, when he launched his unsuccessful effort to secure binding UN Security Council recognition for Palestinian statehood. This year, he is set to seek, in principle, General Assembly recognition for non-member status for Palestine. Under US pressure, though, he is apparently only going to formally push for a vote on the issue after November’s US presidential elections.
Abbas is up to speak next, and is reported to have been telling various interlocutors that his speech will show sensitivity to Jewish rights in Israel.
He met Monday evening with about 10 Jewish leaders, and reportedly endorsed law professor Alan Dershowitz’s formula for returning to talks with Israel, participants said.
They described Abbas as emphasizing an urgent need to return to talks with Israel due to the protests and fighting roiling the Arab world, and due to increased tensions with Iran.
He asked his Jewish interlocutors why Israel was demanding that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state when he had repeatedly recognized its legitimacy. He was told that insensitivity to Jewish claims helped fuel the demand, and was reminded that last year in his speech to the UN General Assembly, he noted only Muslim and Christian claims to the holy land.
Abbas told the group to watch for his speech to the General Assembly, saying that he would also note Jewish claims.
Raphael Ahren notes: An official from the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu would use his speech to “set out clear red lines,” beyond which Israel would act to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
“The US and Israel have a common interest in ensuring Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon and will work together to reach that goal,” the official said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that ties between Israel and the US had not been damaged by the spat over the setting of red lines for Iran.
Liberman was speaking aboard the plane carrying Netanyahu to New York.
Apparently, the Israeli ambassador to UN, Ron Prosor, will invite Netanyahu to speak — a first. Prosor is currently vice president of the GA.
Prosor has been an active ambassador, leading the effort to have diplomats boycott Ahmadinejad’s address on Wednesday. In the event, the United States’ delegation boycotted Ahmadinejad’s speech. The Canadian delegation left the assembly as he took the podium.
A US spokesman announced the decision on Wednesday morning, citing Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel comments while in New York and the fact that the address fell on Yom Kippur.
Very warm applause for Abbas as he comes to the podium.
Speaking in Arabic, he says the Palestinians are facing relentless waves of attacks against them, and against their land. “Our people have become fixed targets” for attacks by settlers and the Israeli government.
The settlers’ attacks are the “inherent” consequence of occupation, and of a government that deems satisfying the settlers as a priority, Abbas says. He speaks of a “racist” climate in Israeli education. The Israeli security apparatus and the courts “provide excuse after excuse” for the settlers’ crimes and for soldiers’ “war crimes” including murder.
This is a very, very bitter beginning…
Jerusalem, he goes on, is being choked off, with Palestinians denied access. Settlements are expanding. And the Gaza Strip is still being blockaded.
He urges the international community to push for the release of 5,000-plus Palestinian security prisoners — soldiers in the struggle for freedom.
The occupying power continues “to demolish what the Palestine National Authority is building.” Some 510 Palestinian structures have been demolished in the past year, he says. “These measures have caused great damage to our economy.”
Here are the first few, notably bitter, sentences of Abbas’s speech, delivered before the translation was fully audible:
“During the past months, attacks by terrorist militias of Israeli settlers have become a daily reality, with at least 535 attacks perpetrated since the beginning of this year. We are facing relentless waves of attacks against our people, our mosques, churches and monasteries, and our
homes and schools; they are unleashing their venom against our trees, fields, crops and properties, and our people have become fixed targets for acts of killing and abuse with the complete collusion of the occupying forces and the Israeli Government.”
And here’s more of the official translation of the speech to date:
“The escalation of settler attacks should not surprise anyone, for it is the inherent byproduct of the continuation of occupation and a government policy that deliberately fosters the settlements and settlers and deems their satisfaction to be an absolute priority. And, it is the inherent byproduct of the racist climate fueled by a culture of incitement in the Israeli curriculum and extremist declarations, which are rife with hatred and are rooted in a series of discriminatory laws created and enacted over the years against the Palestinian people, as well as by the security
apparatus and courts, which provide excuse after excuse for the settlers’ crimes and for their accelerated release should one of them happen to be arrested, and by official and military commissions of inquiry, which fabricate justifications for soldiers who have committed what are clearly considered to be war crimes and perpetrated acts of murder, torture and abuse of peaceful civilians.”
Israel’s policy in Jerusalem is “clearly and deliberately aimed at altering the City’s historic character and the glorious image of the Holy City etched in the minds of humankind. It is a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people via the demolition of their homes and prevention of their construction; the revocation of residency rights; the denial of basic services, especially with regard to construction of school; the closure of institutions; and the impoverishment of Jerusalem’s community via a siege of walls and checkpoints that are choking the City and preventing millions of Palestinians from freely accessing its mosques, churches, schools, hospitals and markets.
“The occupying Power has also continued its construction and expansion of settlements in different areas throughout the West Bank and continued its suffocating blockade as well as raids and attacks against our people in the Gaza Strip, who to this day continue to suffer from the disastrous impact of the destructive war of aggression committed against them years ago. Nearly five thousand Palestinians also remain captive as prisoners and detainees in Israel’s jails. We
call on the international community to compel the Government of Israel to respect the Geneva Conventions, to lift the blockade of Gaza and to investigate the conditions of detention of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, stressing the need for their release; they are soldiers in their
people’s struggle for freedom, independence and peace.
“At the same time, the occupying Power continues to tighten the siege and impose severe restrictions on movement, preventing the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from implementing vital infrastructure projects and providing services to its citizens, who are also being prevented from cultivating their land and deprived of water for irrigation. It is also
obstructing the establishment of agricultural, industrial, tourism and housing projects by the private sector in vast areas of the Occupied Palestinian Authority, which are classified as areas subject to the absolute control of the occupation, which encompasses approximately 60% of the West Bank. The occupying Power continues to deliberately demolish what the PNA is building, projects funded by donor brethren and friends, and destroying PNA projects involving the building of roads, simple homes for its citizens and agricultural facilities. In fact, over the past 12 months, the Israeli occupying forces demolished 510 Palestinian structures in these areas and displaced 770 Palestinians from their homes. These illegal measures have caused great damage
to our economy and impeded our development programs and private sector activity, compounding the socio-economic difficulties being endured by our people under occupation, a fact confirmed by international institutions.
“Israel’s overall policy is ultimately leading to the weakening of the Palestinian National Authority, undermining its ability to carry out its functions and to implement its obligations, which threatens to undermine ks very existence and threatens its collapse.”
As for the Palestinians, says Abbas, “We, on our part, and as proof our seriousness and our sincere intention to create an opening in this impasse, conducted exploratory talks with the Israeli Government at the
beginning of this year upon the initiative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We have also encouraged the expressed desires of several countries to contribute to efforts to break the cycle of deadlock and have also ourselves undertaken initiatives to create favorable conditions for the resumption of negotiations. Unfortunately, however, the result of all these initiatives has been very negative.”
Abbas says: “There can only be one understanding of the Israeli Government’s actions in our homeland and of the positions it has presented to us regarding the substance of a permanent status
agreement to end the conflict and achieve peace. That one understanding leads to one conclusion: that the Israeli Government rejects the two-State solution.
“The two-State solution, i.e. the State of Palestine coexisting alongside the State of Israel, represents the spirit and essence of the historic compromise embodied in the Oslo Declaration of Principles, the agreement signed 19 years ago between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Government of Israel under the auspices of the United States of America on the White House Lawn, a compromise by which the Palestinian people accepted to establish their State on only 22% of the territory of historic Palestine for the sake of making peace.
The recent years have actually witnessed the systematic acceleration and intensification of Israeli measures aimed at emptying the Oslo Accords of their meaning, while simultaneously building facts on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that are making the
implementation of the Accords extremely difficult if not completely impossible.”
He continues: “Israel aims to continue its occupation of East Jerusalem, to de facto annex large areas of the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to continue occupying a large portion of the Territory under different pretexts. It refuses to engage in any serious discussion of the issue of the Palestine refugees. It wants to continue its occupation of Palestinian water basins and its control over the most fertile agricultural areas in our land as well as over our air, skies and borders.”
Abbas continues: “The final map and borders that can be drawn in accordance with Israel’s official positions reveal to us the following: small Palestinian enclaves surrounded by large Israeli settlement blocs and walls, checkpoints and vast security zones and roads devoted to the settlers. Thus, the enclaves would remain subject to the full dominance of military, colonial occupation, only packaged under new names, such as the unilateral plan for a so-called State with provisional borders.”
Israel, he says, “refuses to end the occupation and refuses to allow the Palestinian people to attain their rights and freedom and rejects the independence of the State of Palestine.
“Israel is promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new Nakba.”
Abbas says: “I speak on behalf of an angry people, a people that feels that, at the same time that they continue with their calls for their right to freedom and their adoption of a culture of peace and adherence to the principles and rules of international law and resolutions of international
legitimacy, rewards continue to be illogically bestowed upon Israel, whose Government pursues a policy of war, occupation and settlement colonization. And Israel continues to be permitted to evade accountability and punishment and some continue to obstruct the undertaking of decisive positions regarding its violations of international law and covenants. This, in fact, represents a license for the occupation to continue its policy of dispossession and ethnic cleansing and
encourages it to entrench its system of apartheid against the Palestinian people.”
Still, he goes on, “Despite our real feelings of anger, we, in the name of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, reaffirm, without hesitation, that we as committed to peace and international legitimacy and its covenants
and its resolutions as we are adherent to our inalienable national rights and aspirations, and we reaffirm that we are committed to non-violence and reject terrorism in all its forms, particularly State terrorism.
“Despite our feelings of disappointment and loss of hope, we continue to sincerely extend our hands to the Israeli people to make peace. We realize that ultimately the two peoples must live and coexist, each in their respective State, in the Holy Land. Further, we realize that progress towards making peace is through negotiations between the PLO and Israel.
“Despite all the complexities of the prevailing reality and all the frustrations that abound, we say before the international community: there is still a chance – maybe the last – to save the two-State solution and to salvage peace.”
Continuing this spectacularly bitter speech, even by Abbas’s past standards, he says: “Whoever rushes to advise us to repeat an experience that has proven to be fruitless – negotiations with the Israeli
Government without clear terms of reference – must understand that this will result in reproduction of failure and again provide a cover for entrenchment of the occupation and will finish off an already-dying peace process. And, whoever who advises us to wait, must realize that the festering situation in our country and our region has its own timing and can neither withstand further procrastination and delay nor its placement at the bottom of the global agenda.
“The approach required for saving the chance for peace,” he says, “must first and foremost be predicated on the understanding that racial settler colonization must be condemned, punished and boycotted in order for it to be completely halted. This approach also requires reaffirmation of
and adherence to the terms of reference and foundations of the solution to the conflict, which have been endorsed by all of you.
“The core components of a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict do not require effort to discover, but rather what is needed is the will to implement them. And marathon negotiations are not required to determine them, but rather what is needed is the sincere intention
reach peace. And those components are by no means a mysterious puzzle or intractable riddle, but rather are the clearest and most logical in the world. This includes the realization of the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory
occupied by Israel since 1967, and the realization of a just, agreed solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194 (III), as prescribed in the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Abbas continues: “The international community, embodied in the United Nations, is required now more than ever to uphold its responsibilities. The Security Council is called upon to urgently adopt a resolution comprising the basis and foundations for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that would serve as a binding reference and guide for all if the vision of two-States, Israel and Palestine, is to survive and if peace is to prevail in the land of peace, the birthplace of Jesus (peace be upon him), and ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the final resting place of Abraham (peace be upon him), the land of the three monotheistic religions.”
That last phrase represents a departure from last year, in that Abbas namechecked Abraham this time — a mention that might be taken to imply a degree of recognition of Jewish historical rights.
He continues: “The independence and freedom of the State of Palestine is above all and ultimately a sacred right of the Palestinian people and an entitlement that must be realized for it has been long overdue for too many decades.
“At the same time, the Palestinian National Authority has affirmed, through implementation of its State institution-building program, the ability to create an advanced model for an effective, modem State through the development of the performance of its institutions,
public finance management through the adoption of transparency, accountability and rules of good governance. These achievements have been considered by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to constitute an impressive undertaking and success story, one that was again commended in the latest report just a few days ago, confirming full Palestinian readiness for the transition to an independent State, while at the same time stressing that the Israeli occupation remains the only obstacle to the realization of the State of Palestine.”
Abbas continues: “When, a year ago during the previous session of the General Assembly, we submitted our application for consideration by the Security Council to allow the State of Palestine to assume its rightful place among the nations of the world as a full member in the United Nations, a major and hostile uproar was raised by some against this political, diplomatic, peaceful step aimed at saving the peace process by asserting its basis and foundation. However, our endeavor was aborted, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world supported, and continues to support, our application.
“Yet, last autumn, when the countries of the world had the opportunity to declare their stance without any restrictions or “veto”, they voted, despite enormous pressures, in strong support of the acceptance of Palestine as a Member State of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“A year has passed and Palestine, the homeland of Mahmoud Darwish and Edward Said, is playing its role in UNESCO with high responsibility
and professionalism, and is committed to international conventions, cooperating with all Member States in order to advance the objectives of the organization, and providing a model of what its positive, constructive contribution in international organizations would be.
“In order to enhance the chances for peace, we will continue our efforts to obtain full membership for Palestine at the United Nations. 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 United Nations 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 our endeavor, we do not seek to delegitimize an existing State – that is Israel; but rather to assert the State that must be realized – that is Palestine.”
More than 64 years have passed since Al-Nakba and a large portion of those who were its direct victims and witnessed its horrors have died with their memories preserved in their minds and hearts about their beautiful world that was devastated, their warm homes that were
demolished, and their peaceful villages that were erased from existence, and about their renaissance that was undermined, and their loved ones, dear men, women and children, whowere killed in wars, massacres, attacks, raids and incursions, and about their beautiful country
that was a beacon of coexistence, tolerance, progress and a crossroads of civilization.
“They died in the camps of displacement and refuge to which they were expelled following their uprooting from their homeland as they awaited the moment in which thcy would resume their suspended lives and complete their journey that was interrupted and repair their shattered dreams. They died while they clung to their legitimate human right to justice and freedom… Isn’t it time to redress for the historic unprecedented injustice inflicted upon them?
“At present, 77% of the Palestinian people are under the age of 35 years. Although they did not experience the horrors of Al-Nakba, they know very well the details of its horrendous facts from the accounts told to them by their parents and grandparents who endured it. And, they are suffering its ongoing effects until today and every day as a result of the practices of the occupation and the settlers on a land that is diminishing and a horizon before them that is blocked against their simple, ordinary dreams.
“They see their homeland and, their present and future vulnerable to continued usurpation and they say firmly: we shall not allow a new Nakba to happen.”
Nearing the end of his speech now, Abbas goes on: “I say to you that the brave Palestinian people will not allow themselves to be the victim of a new Nakba. My people will continue their epic steadfastness and eternal survival in their beloved land, every inch of which carries the evidence and landmarks affirming their roots and unique connection throughout ancient history. There is no homeland for us except Palestine, and there is no land for us but Palestine…
“Our people will continue to build the institutions of their State and will continue to strive to achieve national reconciliation to restore the unity of our nation, people and institutions via resorting to the ballot boxes, which will confirm our people’s pluralistic democratic choice. Our people are also determined to continue peaceful popular resistance — peaceful popular resistance, I repeat — consistent with international humanitarian law, against the occupation and the settlements and for the sake of freedom, independence and peace.
“Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, prevent the occurrence of a new Nakba in the Holy Land. Support the realization of a free, independent State of Palestine now. Let peace be victorious before it is too late….
“Peace be upon you.”
Very warm applause as Abbas finishes his address, with some attendees on their feet.
Ahead of that speech, word was that Abbas had reportedly told Jewish leaders he would be showing a certain sensitivity to Israel and/or acknowledging Jewish rights in the holy land.
In fact, his speech did mention Abraham — a figure central to the Jewish narrative, but important on Muslim tradition too. That mention apart, the speech was strikingly bitter in tone — including accusations of government-orchestrated racism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid against the Palestinian people.
It will be interesting to see how Netanyahu, set to speak in a few minutes, will relate to Abbas in his address, for all that his primary focus will be on Iran.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, now introduces Netanyahu.
The prime minister begins by mentioning King David, to underline Jewish rootedness to the holy land.
“The people of Israel live on,” says Netanyahu, reminding his audience that “the Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years.”
He says: “The Jewish people have come home. We will never be uprooted again.”
At Yom Kippur, he says, “we celebrate the rebirth of Israel” each year. “We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing, modern Jewish state.
“In Israel we walk the same paths” as our patriarchs, “but we blaze new trails” in science, agriculture and more, he says.
He speaks of “a great battle” between modernity and medievalism, in which the dark forces, the medieval forces, celebrate death, while Israel stands for those who celebrate life. He hails Israel’s “exceptional creativity” and its response to disasters worldwide.”
He mentions losing both his father and father in law, in the past year. “In the same hospital wards where they were treated, he says, “Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs.”
“It’s because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace” and seeks to maintain its ties with Egypt and Jordan and to attain peace with the Palestinians.
To Abbas he says: “We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches to the UN.” Rather, “we have to sit together” and negotiate a solution in which a demilitarized neighbor recognizes the Jewish state.
Netanyahu says Muslim extremists, like those who attacked US embassies, are seeking to take the Middle East back to the dark ages. He says they will ultimately fail.
“It’s not whether this fanaticism will be defeated,” he says. “It’s how many lives will be lost before it is defeated.”
Now he invokes the Nazis, who “went down in flames” but took millions down with them. “We cannot let that happen again… At stake is not only my country… but the world” and that requires thwarting a would-be nuclear Iran.
“Just look at what the Iranian regime has done up to now, without nuclear weapons” — putting down mass protests at home in 2009, and now directly participating in the mass murders in Syria, he says. “They’ve turned Lebanon and Gaza into terror strongholds.”
Given Iran’s record of aggression without a nuclear weapon, imagine how dangerous it would be with the bomb. “Who’d be safe in Europe? Who’d be safe in America?? Who’d be safe anywhere?”
Iran cannot be contained, or deterred like the Soviet Union, he says. “Militant jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists.”
Citing Bernard Lewis, he says, “for the ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent. It’s an inducement.”
Some people peddle “the absurd” nation that a nuclear-armed Iran might stabilize the Middle East, he says, ridiculing the notion.
He says he’s been warning about a nuclear Iran for years, but now the hour is getting late. “I speak about it now” he says, because when it comes to the future of his country, “it is my duty to speak.”
He says every world leader committed to peace must act. Iran is using diplomacy merely to buy time, he says. For over 7 years, the international community has introduced heavy sanctions, he says. “It’s had an effect… the Iranian economy has been hit hard… but we must face the truth: Sanctions have not stopped the Iranians’ nuclear program.”
In the past year, he says, Iran has doubled its centrifuges.
“There’s only one way to peacefully” prevent Iran getting the bomb — by placing “red lines” on its nuclear weapons program. “Red lines don’t lead to war. Red lines prevent war.”
Red lines might have averted some of the horrors of World War II, he says.
Clear red lines can work with Iran, too, he says. Red lines forced Iran to back off on its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, he noted.
First, vital red line must be drawn “on Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium.”
He goes into the mechanics of building a bomb, and says. “For Iran, amassing enough enriched uranium is far more difficult than producing the nuclear fuse,” he says. Iran can produce “the detonator” in a year or less, in a tiny workshop that may be hard to find. “The same is true for the small facility in which they could assemble a warhead.”
So the only way to credibly stop Iran is at the enrichment stage, he says, and produces a sketch to prove his point. He explains how far along the enrichment process Iran already is.
The red line must be drawn “before Iran gets to the point where it is a few months away or a few weeks away” from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.
He says Israel’s intelligence is terrific, but it didn’t spot Iran’s underground enrichment facilities right away.
“I believe Iran will back down,” he says, if the red lines are clearly and credibly drawn.
He praises Obama for saying that Iran must be stopped, at this forum two days ago. He praises other international leaders who share that determination. “I am confident that we can chart a path forward together.”
Now he moves on to the Jewish imperative “to treat all with dignity and compassion… and to pray and strive for peace… These are the timeless values of my people…”
He urges the participants to commit themselves to protecting global freedoms and thus defending civilization.
Netanyahu concludes to warm applause.