Netanyahu blasts Iran at UN, says Palestinians cannot have veto over Arab-Israeli peace deals

The Israeli premier slammed Iran as “a fly in the ointment,” extending its tentacles of terrorism throughout the world.

By Menachem Wecker, JNS

The “tyrants of Tehran” have been nothing but a curse since he last addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the body on Sept. 22 in New York City. But Iran’s threat has also brought Israel and the Arab world together, he said.

Netanyahu told the biblical story of Moses separating the Israelites between two mountains, with one dedicated to blessings and the other to curses. He held up a map of the Middle East and a red pen, and noted that in 2018, he demonstrated with those same props how Iran was threatening the region.

That curse has turned into a blessing, as normalization agreements between Israel and the Arab world proliferate, creating “a new Middle East,” Netanyahu said.

He noted that the “so-called experts” had predicted that the sorts of peace already achieved in the Abraham Accords would be impossible without Israel first reconciling with the Palestinians.

“I’ve long sought to make peace with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said. But the Palestinians shouldn’t have a veto over Israeli peace efforts with the rest of the Arab world, he said. “The Palestinians can benefit from a broader peace.”

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“The Abraham Accords were a pivot of history,” and the whole world is reaping the benefits of the Accords, Netanyahu added.

A looming peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia will have long-reaching implications, including encouraging other Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel, he predicted.

“All these are tremendous blessings,” he said.

Israel can become a “bridge of prosperity” and can help create a “new Middle East,” he added. “Peace can only be achieved if it’s based on truth,” and not on demonizing Israel, Netanyahu said.

As long as Netanyahu is in power, he will do all he can to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons he said, as he called for “snapping back” sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

He called Iran “a fly in the ointment,” extending its tentacles of terrorism throughout the world.

“They even tried to assassinate the secretary of state of the United States of America. They even tried to assassinate the national security advisor of the United States of America,” Netanyahu said, as the U.N. camera panned to empty Iranian seats in the room.

“This tells you all that you need to know about Iran’s murderous intentions and Iran’s murderous nature,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli prime minister called the oppressed Iranian people the true partners in peace.

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Netanyahu also discussed the “perils” of artificial intelligence.

“We must do so quickly and we must do so together. We must ensure that that promise of the AI utopia doesn’t turn into an AI dystopia,” he said.

He also discussed the potential of AI, including in medical technologies. “I know it sounds like a John Lennon song,” he said. But he said AI is already changing the world and expressed confidence that AI will help all of humanity. He noted that Israel is among the nations leading on this front.

World leaders must collectively ensure that artificial intelligence helps prevent instead of starting wars, helps people live longer, healthier and more productive and peaceful lives, Netanyahu said. “It’s within our reach.”

Earlier in the week, the Israeli prime minister met on the sidelines of the UNGA with U.S. President Joe Biden and António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, as well as the presidents or top leaders of Germany, Turkey, South Korea, Ukraine, Paraguay, Congo, Malawi, South Sudan and the Pacific nations of Palau, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

During meetings with Netanyahu, leaders of Congo and Paraguay announced their intentions to open, or reopen, embassies in Jerusalem.

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Netanyahu also met in New York with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In California, he met with and held a live online discussion with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Earlier in the week, Jordanian and Iranian leaders criticized Israel repeatedly in their remarks at the UNGA, and U.N. police temporarily detained Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.