Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took the podium on Thursday at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, speaking at the UN headquarters just a day after Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced he was no longer bound by the 1994 Oslo Accords, from the same platform.
Watch full speech:
He began his speech by saying: "After three days of listening to world leaders praising the deal with Iran, I begin my speech by saying, ladies and gentlemen, check your enthusiasm at the door. This deal doesn't make peace more likely. By fueling Iran's aggressions by billions of dollars in sanctions relief it makes war more likely.
"In the last six months alone, since the nuclear deal's framework was announced in Lausanne, Iran has boosted supplies of devastating weapons to Syria; sent more soldiers into Syria to prop up Assad's brutal regime and shipped weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, including another shipment just a few days ago. Hezbollah smuggled in SA-22 missiles to down our planes."
"Iran smuggled to Hezbollah missiles to accurately hit any target in Israel and aided Hamas and Islamic Jihad with armed drones in Gaza. In the Golan Heights, Iranian operatives recently fired rockets on Israel. Israel will continue to respond forcefully to any attacks to it from Syria, and will block transfer of weapons to Hezbollah through Syria."
"The days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies... those days are over!" he asserted.
'Am Yisrael Chai!'
“I know that preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons remains the official policy of the international community,” he added. “But no one should question Israel's determination to defend itself against those who seek our destruction. For in every generation there were those who rose up to destroy our people. Babylonia and Rome; Inquisition and expulsion; in modern times – pogroms and Holocaust. Yet the Jewish people persevered.
"And now another regime has arisen, swearing to destroy Israel. That regime would be wise to consider this: I stand here today representing Israel, a country 67 years young, but the nation state of a people nearly 4,000 years old. Yet the empires of Babylonia and Rome are not represented in this hall of nations. Neither is the 'Thousand year Reich.' Those seemingly invincible empires are gone, but the people of Israel lives."
He thundered: "Am Yisrael Chai!”
"I wish I could take comfort in the claim that this deal blocks Iran's path to nuclear weapons, but I can't, because it doesn't," Netanyahu continued. "This deal does place several constraints on Iran's nuclear program, and rightly so. Because the international community recognizes that Iran is so dangerous. But here's the catch: under the deal, if Iran becomes more dangerous, the most important constraints will still be lifted by year 10 and by year 15. That will place a militant Islamic terror regime weeks away from having enough fissile material for an entire arsenal of bombs. That just doesn't make any sense."
"The vast majority of Israelis believe that this nuclear deal with Iran is a very bad deal,” he told the Assembly. “And what makes matters even worse is that we see a world celebrating this bad deal; rushing to embrace and do business with a regime openly committed to our destruction. Last week, Major General Salehi, Commander of Iran's army, proclaimed this: 'We will annihilate Israel for sure, we are glad that we are in the forefront of executing the Supreme Leader's order to destroy Israel.'
30 seconds of silence
"And as for the Supreme Leader himself – a few days after the nuclear deal was announced, he released his latest book. Here it is,” said the Israeli leader, holding up a copy of the orange and yellow book. “It's a 400 page screed detailing his plan to destroy the state of Israel. Last month, Khamenei once again made his genocidal intentions clear before Iran's top clerical body, the Assembly of Experts. He spoke about Israel, home to over 6 million Jews. He pledged, 'There will be no Israel in 25 years.'
An angry Netanyahu intoned: “Seventy years after the murder of 6 million Jews, Iran's rulers promised to destroy my country, murder my people! And the response from this body; the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here, has been absolutely nothing. Utter silence. Deafening silence.”
At this point, Netanyahu employed a creative oratory device and remained silent for a full 30 seconds, to illustrate the UN's lack of backbone.
“The dreams of our people, enshrined for eternity by the great prophets of the Bible – those dreams will be fully realized only when there is peace," he explained. "As the Middle East descends into chaos, Israel's peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are two cornerstones of stability.
“Israel remains committed to achieving peace with the Palestinians as well,” Netanyahu said. “Israelis know the price of war. I know the price of war. I was nearly killed in battle. I lost many friends. I lost my beloved brother Yoni. Those who know the price of war can best appreciate what the blessings of peace would mean for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren.
Palestinians continue rejectionism
He announced: "I am prepared to immediately, immediately, resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority without any preconditions whatsoever.
"Unfortunately, President Abbas said yesterday that he is not prepared to do this. Well, I hope he changes his mind. Because I remain committed to a vision of two states for two peoples in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state.
"The peace process began over two decades ago, yet despite the best efforts of six Israeli prime ministers, Rabin, Peres, Barak, Sharon, Olmert and myself, the Palestinians continually refuse to make a final peace with Israel. You heard that rejectionism yet again only yesterday from President Abbas. How can Israel make peace with a Palestinian partner who refuses to even sit at the negotiating table?”
"The UN won't help peace by trying to impose solutions or by encouraging Palestinian rejectionism,” the Prime Minister stated. “And the UN should do one more thing: the UN should finally rid itself of the obsessive bashing of Israel. Here's just one absurd example of this obsession: in four years of horrific violence in Syria, more than a quarter of a million people have lost their lives. That's more than 10 times the number of Israelis and Palestinians combined who have lost their lives in a century of conflict between us.
"Yet last year this assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel, and just one resolution about the savage slaughter in Syria. Talk about injustice! Talk about disproportionality!”
Sources close to Netanyahu had said prior to Wednesday night's speech that his address was to be a decisive rebuttal to Abbas's lies, in which the PLO chairman accused Israel of breaking international law and agreements, and announced the PA no longer is committed to the very accords that incidentally created the PA.
Just after Abbas's "bombshell" UN speech on Wednesday, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag was raised at the UN headquarters for the first time ever.
Ironically, the PLO had its status as an internationally recognized terrorist organization removed in the Oslo Accords - the same Accords that Abbas had just minutes earlier renounced.