Netanyahu says he’ll urge ‘uniform’ global fight against terror at UN
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Netanyahu says he’ll urge ‘uniform’ global fight against terror at UN

PM heads to New York, will meet with Obama on Wednesday and ‘thank him for the great and important security assistance’

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara boarding the airplane to New York for an official state visit to the US, September 20, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara boarding the airplane to New York for an official state visit to the US, September 20, 2016. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

NEW YORK — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will urge world leaders to create “a uniform standard in the war on terrorism,” he said Tuesday before boarding his plane to New York, where he will address the United Nations General Assembly later this week.

Netanyahu also said he will thank US President Barack Obama for a 10-year, $38-billion US military aid deal, signed last week, when the two leaders meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly on Wednesday.

“We are in the midst of a very important diplomatic week for the State of Israel. I am leaving now for the United States,” Netanyahu told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport. “There I will first meet with President Obama and I will thank him for the great and important security assistance to the State of Israel over the coming decade.”

During his five-day stay in the city, Netanyahu will also meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, World Economic Forum chief Klaus Schwab and a group of African heads of state. He will also address the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank that is giving him an award, and visit an exhibit of drawings by an Israeli soldier whose body is currently held by Hamas, along with the remains of another soldier.

Before taking off for the UN headquarters, Netanyahu said he intends to urge world powers to unite in the campaign against terror.

“I expect from the international community a uniform standard in the war on terrorism,” he said. “Today the entire international community says that there is a need to wage a determined and uncompromising fight against terrorism. And indeed, they must also support the determined and uncompromising fight against terrorism, and this moral clarity is necessary to both fight against — and defeat — terrorism.”

The prime minister added that he will “present Israel’s case, Israel’s truth, Israel’s justice and also Israel’s heroism — the heroism of our soldiers, our police officers and our citizens, who are waging an uncompromising struggle against brutal terrorism,” during his address to world leaders.

Netanyahu’s scheduled meeting with Obama comes a week after the two countries inked a new military package that will grant Israel $3.8 billion annually — up from the $3 billion pledged under the previous 10-year Memorandum of Understanding — starting in 2018 through 2028.

Critics of the deal have said that Israel could have obtained even more if it were not for Netanyahu’s testy relationship with Obama. Netanyahu has rejected the suggestions that there was more on offer.

The prime minister said earlier this week that the “saddest thing” in his eyes was that the deal’s critics were “showing ingratitude… to our greatest and best friend, the United States.”

During his powwow with the president – which will amount to their 17th meeting in their current positions and is widely expected to be their last before a new president is inaugurated in late January – Netanyahu also “intends to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the Middle East as well as the way to advance peace and security,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

In a statement Sunday, the White House indicated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would play a central role in the conversation. “The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the need for genuine advancement of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the face of deeply troubling trends on the ground,” White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said.

On Thursday morning, Netanyahu will address the General Assembly, just moments after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas take the podium.

Abbas, who arrived in New York on Sunday and met with Kerry on Monday, was joined by PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat. The Palestinian leader is expected to conduct meetings with the presidents of Egypt, Brazil, Argentina, Cyprus and the prime minister of Belgium.

In New York, Netanyahu is also scheduled to meet with up to 10 African presidents and foreign ministers, who will join him at a “special event” highlighting Israeli technology being used throughout the African continent. Furthermore, the prime minister will address a think tank and conduct “a series of meetings with heads of states from across the globe,” his office said, without providing further details.

In addition, Netanyahu will visit a special exhibition featuring the drawings of Israel Defense Forces Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who was killed in Gaza on August 1, 2014. The exhibit, entitled “The Final Peace,” is currently on display at UN headquarters. “Hadar was killed and kidnapped by despicable terrorists during a UN sponsored ceasefire,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said last week at the exhibit’s opening, which was attended by Hadar’s parents and twin brother Tzur.

Netanyahu’s delegation includes Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) and Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the US. As opposed to initial reports, Netanyahu’s media adviser Ran Baratz did not join the prime minister’s delegation.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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