UNITED NATIONS – Israel's prime minister went to the United Nations on Thursday, October 1, to call for an immediate resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians and to savage the international community's nuclear deal with Iran.
"I am prepared to immediately, immediately resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians without any preconditions whatsoever," Benjamin Netanyahu told the General Assembly.
Addressing Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas directly, he said: "President Abbas, I know it's not easy. I know it's hard.
"But we owe it to our peoples to try. To continue to try. Because together... if we actually sit down and try to resolve this conflict between us... we can do remarkable things for our people," Netanyahu added.
His remarks come with Netanyahu scheduled to speak with US President Barack Obama at the White House in November – their first meeting after a deep row about the Iranian nuclear row.
Their frosty relations plummeted further during Netanyahu's re-election campaign when he rejected a two-state solution for peace with the Palestinians.
With the peace process in deep freeze, there are growing fears that tensions like those flaring at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound could spark a broader Palestinian uprising.
Abbas told the United Nations on Wednesday that Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners and stop settlement activity, meant that Palestinians could no longer feel bound by past agreements.
"They leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them," he said.
"We cannot continue to be bound by these signed agreements with Israel and Israel must assume fully all its responsibilities as an occupying power," Abbas added, saying Palestinian patience "has come to an end."
Netanyahu used the first part of his speech to criticize the international community for reaching the nuclear deal with Iran.
During his speech, he fell silent for 45 seconds after slamming the UN General Assembly's "deafening silence" in the face of repeated calls from Iran for the destruction of the Jewish state.
"The response from this body," he said, "has been absolutely nothing. Utter silence. Deafening silence."
Israel will do whatever it takes to defend itself and will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said.
"Israel will not permit any force on earth to threaten its future," he said.
"Israel will do whatever it must do to defend our state and to defend our people." – Rappler.com