On the eve of his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday pledged to defend Israel’s honor following Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s scathing accusations of genocide in an address to the body Friday.
“In my address to the UN General Assembly, I will refute all the lies being directed against us, and I will tell the truth about our country and the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world,” Netanyahu told reporters on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport shortly before boarding a plane to New York.
The prime minister is set to address the General Assembly on Monday, and to meet with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
While in New York, Netanyahu will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first tete-a-tete in a decade between Indian and Israeli heads of state.
He’ll also meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday.
Netanyahu’s remarks came two days after Abbas, speaking at the UN General Assembly, demanded an end to the occupation, accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in Gaza, and asserted that Palestinians faced a future in a “most abhorrent form of apartheid” under Israeli rule.
Abbas called 2014 “a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people,” and said that Israel was not interested in living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors.
On Saturday night, Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians hit back at Abbas and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over their addresses.
“After the deceitful speech of the Iranian president and Abbas’s inciting words, I will tell the truth of the citizens of Israel to the whole world,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon asserted that the PA leader’s speech “proved for the umpteenth time that [Abbas] is not a leader who wants peace and strives to advance the lives of his people, but a person who is propagating lies, is engaged in incitement and spreads hate speech against Israel.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement shortly after Abbas’s speech that the PA president demonstrated that “he doesn’t want to be, and cannot be, a partner for a logical diplomatic resolution.”
“It’s no coincidence that he joined a [national consensus] government with Hamas,” the foreign minister added. “Abbas complements Hamas when he deals with diplomatic terrorism and slanders Israel with false accusations.”
The US condemned Abbas’s statements too, with a spokeswoman for the State Department saying it was “offensive” and undermined peace efforts.
MKs across the spectrum also castigated Abbas for the speech, though more dovish legislators also urged a resumption of peace talks.