Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid declared his support for the two state solution while calling on the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world to make peace with Israel during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly Thursday.
Prime Minister Lapid began his speech by noting how far Israel has come in the seven decades since its founding, rising from the ashes of the Holocaust to become a world leader in many fields and technologies.
"How did this happen?" he asked. "It happened because we decided not to be a victim. We chose not to dwell on the pain of the past, but rather to focus on the hope of the future."
"We didn’t only reach the Promised Land, we are building the Promised Land," Lapid declared.
Lapid noted that Israel still faces threats, the "nuclear threat" of Iran, and "the demise of truth."
He warned the representatives of the UN member nations: "They also hang over your heads, even though you may try to deny them."
The prime minister demanded that the UN treat Israel as an equal state with equal rights to all other states. "I am not a guest in this building. Israel is a proud sovereign nation, and an equal member of the United Nations. We will not be silent when those who wish to harm us, use this very stage to spread lies about us."
"Antisemitism is the willingness to believe the worst about the Jews, without questioning. Antisemitism is judging Israel by a different standard than any other country," he said.
Lapid accused Iran of "conducting this orchestra of hate" against Israel, and noted its persecution of women, LGBTQ people, and minorities.
"Iran’s regime hates Jews, hates women, hates gay people, hates the West. They hate and kill Muslims who think differently, like Salman Rushdie and Mahsa Amini. Their hate is a way of life. It is a way to preserve their oppressive rule," he said,
He demanded that the UN do more to stop Iran, which openly declares its intentions to destroy the Jewish State while funding Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad to wage war against Israel
"This building is silent. What are you afraid of? Has there ever been a time in human history where silence stopped violence?" he asked.
"If the Iranian regime gets a nuclear weapon, they will use it," he warned, stating that "the only way" to prevent this from happening was to present a credible military threat, "and only then – to negotiate a Longer and Stronger deal with them."
Lapid chastised western leaders for seeking a weak agreement with Iran which would not prevent it from developing nuclear weapons for long. "Today, the world is choosing the easy option. It chooses not to believe the worst, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Israel does not have this privilege."
He said that if the world would not act to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Israel would. "This time we are not standing empty-handed against those who want to destroy us. The Jews today have a state. We have an army. We have great friendships, first and foremost with the United States. We have capabilities and we are not afraid to use them. We will do whatever it takes."
Israel's Prime Minister declared: "Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. We will not stand by while there are those who try to kill us. Not again. Never Again."
Turning to the peace process with the Palestinian Authority, Lapid said that "Israel's economic and military strength allows us to protect ourselves but it also allows us something else: To strive for peace with the entire Arab world, and with our closest neighbors – the Palestinians.:
He declared his support for the Two State Solution, stating that "an agreement with the Palestinians, based on two states for two peoples, is the right thing for Israel's security, for Israel's economy and for the future of our children."
"Peace is not a compromise. It is the most courageous decision we can make. Peace is not weakness. It embodies within it the entire might of human spirit," he said.
He said that Israel has "only one condition" for the establishment of a Palestinian state: "That a future Palestinian state will be a peaceful one. That it will not become another terror base from which to threaten the well-being, and the very existence of Israel. That we will have the ability to protect the security of all the citizens of Israel, at all times."
"You can ask us to live according to the values in the UN Charter, but you cannot ask us to die for them," he said.
He noted his own family's history: "My father was a child in the Ghetto, my grandfather was murdered in a concentration camp. We want to live in peace but only if it gives us security, not if it threatens us even more."
"Look at Gaza. Israel did everything the world asked of us, including from this very stage. We left. 17 years ago we dismantled the settlements, took apart our military bases. There is not a single Israeli soldier in Gaza. We even left them 3,000 green houses so they could start to build an economy for themselves. What did they do in response?
"In less than a year, Hamas, a murderous terror organization, came to power. They destroyed the greenhouses and replaced them with terrorist training camps and rocket launch sites. Since we left Gaza, over 20,000 rockets and missiles have been fired at Israel. All of them at civilians. All of them at our children," he reminded the world leaders.
Lapid recounted how he had to wake his autistic daughter up at 3 am .to bring her to a bomb shelter during the last conflict with Gaza.
"All those who preach about the importance of peace, are welcome to try running to a bomb shelter at 3 am with a girl who does not speak. To explain to her, without words, why there are those who want to kill her."
Lapid reiterated that Israel is ready for peace as long as its enemies stop attacking it and agree to work with the Jewish State for a better future.
"We only have one condition: Stop firing rockets and missiles at our children. Put down your weapons, there will be no restrictions," he said.
"Put down your weapons, bring home our children who are being held in captivity – Hadar and Oron, may their memory be a blessing; Avera and Hisham, who are still alive – and we will build your economy together.
"Put down your weapons and prove that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not going to take over the Palestinian state you want to create. Put down your weapons, and there will be peace," Lapid declared. "That is the minimum I owe my grandfather, my father and my daughter."
"We are not going anywhere" and "the Middle East is our home. We are here to stay. Forever," Lapid said.