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September 19, 2017 5:35 pm

At UN, Netanyahu Declares a Belligerent Iran ‘Has No Fiercer Enemy Than Israel,’ Lauds Jewish State’s Enhanced Global Status

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly. Photo: UN.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu devoted much of his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon to a blistering attack on the Iranian regime, pointedly citing similarly strong remarks made by US President Donald Trump from the same podium a few hours earlier.

MORE: “At UN, Trump Slams ‘Murderous Regime’ in Iran”

“Iran vows to destroy my country every day,” Netanyahu told the gathered delegates, quickly turning to his criticism of the Iran nuclear deal of 2015.

“Two years ago, I stood here and explained why the Iranian nuclear deal not only doesn’t block Iran’s path to a bomb, but paves its way to a bomb,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli leader argued that the deal’s fatal flaw is the “sunset clause” governing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear development — echoing his 2015 speech before the UN in which he stated, “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.”

“In a few years, those restrictions will be automatically removed, not by a change in Iran’s behavior or a lessening of its aggression, they will be removed by a mere change in the calendar,” Netanyahu asserted on Tuesday. “The sunset will cast a dark shadow over the Middle East and the world. Iran will be free to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, placing it on the threshold of a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons.”

Comparing the Iran deal to the ill-fated 1994 agreement between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear program, Netanyahu summarized Israel’s policy as “change it or cancel it, fix it or nix it.” Fixing the deal, he said, would mean “penalizing Iran for every violation” and, above all, “getting rid of the sunset clause” — an outcome the Iranians are highly unlikely to accept, with one top official in Tehran saying on Tuesday that “any doubt by any country about this agreement is not acceptable to Iran.” This was Iran’s riposte to a suggestion from French President Emmanuel Macron that some key provisions of the nuclear deal would need to stay in place after the so-called “Termination Day” in October 2025 — when all remaining EU sanctions are lifted, and Iran will be permitted to resume an ambitious uranium enrichment program.

Netanyahu excoriated the “naive” supporters of the deal who believed that Iran would be transformed into a “responsible member of the international community.” The Israeli said that, in contrast, he had warned that Iran would be enabled by the deal to “behave like a hungry tiger unleashed, devouring the nations one after the other.”

Taking a cue from the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech proclaiming that an “iron curtain” had fallen across the European continent “from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,” Netanyahu stated that “from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartous, an Iranian curtain is descending.” This, he said, was a “curtain of tyranny and terror” that had spread across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and other countries in the region, but would never succeed in extinguishing “the light of Israel.”

To loud applause from some in the audience, Netanyahu delivered a message in Hebrew to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Netzach Yisrael lo yeshaker,” he announced — “the Eternal One of Israel does not lie,” a quote from the Biblical prophet Samuel referring to the revival of Israel following periods of destruction. Netanyahu added that although Iran would have “no fiercer enemy than Israel as long as it seeks our destruction,” he declared friendship for Iran’s people. “Shoma duste ma hesteed,” he said in Farsi, “You are our friend…When your day of liberation comes, the friendship between our two ancient peoples will surely flourish once again.”

The speech also covered Israel’s relations with the rest of the world, with Netanyahu lauding a “revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations.”

“So many countries around the world have finally woken up to what Israel can do for them,” Netanyahu said. Confidently depicting Israel as a global market leader in sectors from agriculture, to water purification and counter-terrorism, Netanyahu pointed to the Jewish state’s growing presence in much of Africa and Asia. He underlined that, as prime minister, he had visited six continents in the last year alone.

Special mention was made of President Trump’s visit to Israel in May, with Netanyahu telling the US leader that when he placed his hands on the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, he had “touched all of our hearts.” Netanyahu also highlighted the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July, recalling that he had waded into the Mediterranean where they “drank sea water that had been purified only minutes earlier — we imagined the endless possibilities for India, for Israel, and all of humanity.”

During a 25-minute speech that was introduced by Israel’s own UN ambassador, Danny Danon, in his new capacity as a vice president of the General Assembly, Netanyahu was assured and even jocular — at one point invoking the penguin population of Antarctica “because I heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel… penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong, and unfortunately, when it comes to UN decisions about Israel, that simple recognition is too often absent.”

Netanyahu described Theodore Herzl — the visionary of modern Zionism who convened the First Zionist Congress 120 years ago — as “our modern Moses, and his dream has come true.”

“We’ve returned to the Promised Land, revived our language, ingathered our exiles, and built a modern, thriving democracy,” the Israeli leader said.

Watch Netanyahu’s UN General Assembly address below:

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  • Kris Kristian

    May Hashem bless PM Netanyahu and those who are our friends.
    May the relations between Israel and entire continent of Africa, become real.
    Unfortunately, in South Africa, there are “leaders??” who are totally anti Israel and are trying to stop the increase of relations between Israel and Africa.
    Zuma, the president, who most South Africans would like to see “disappear” has stopped any MP from visiting Israel.
    He has spread the lie that Israel is an Apartheid state.
    Yet, many hundreds of Black people from South Africa, who have lived in South Africa during the apartheid days, and have visited Israel, deny any form of apartheid in Israel.

  • Mladen_Andrijasevic

    Bibi picked his wording to fit Churchill’s as close as possible:

    Churchill, March 5, 1946: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”

    Netanyahu, September 19, 2017: “From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East.”

  • Face it, there will never be an Arab State West of the Jordan River
    If you read the 1917 Balfour Declaration (Which emulated Napoleons 1799 letter to the Jewish community in Palestine promising that The National Home for The Jewish people will be reestablished in Palestine, as the Jews are the rightful owners). Nowhere does it state an Arab entity west of The Jordan River. The San Remo Conference of 1920 does not state an Arab entity west of The Jordan River. The treaty of Sevres confirms it in Article 95. The Mandate for Palestine terms does not state an Arab entity west of the Jordan River. It specifically states a Jewish National Home in Palestine without limiting the Jewish territory in Palestine. It also states that the British should work with the Jewish Agency as the official representative of the Jews in Palestine to implement the National Home of the Jewish people in Palestine. I stress again; nowhere does it state that an Arab entity should be implemented west of the Jordan River.
    As a matter of historical record, The British reallocated over 77% of Jewish Palestine to the Arab-Palestinians in 1922 with specific borders and Jordan took over additional territory like the Gulf of Aqaba which was not part of the allocation to Jordan.

    No where in any of the above stated agreements does it provides for an Arab entity west of the Jordan River. The U.N. resolutions are non-binding with no legal standing. The Oslo Accord is null and void.
    YJ Draiman

  • Both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu warned the UN about the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism. If Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, those atomic bombs will be used. Only a credible military threat will stop Iran from deploying nuclear weapons.

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