Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu announced today that he will travel to New York City and address the UN General Assembly ahead of the Palestinian bid for statehood. His address has been set for next Wednesday.
The announcement was made shortly after Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said that the Palestinian Authority will submit its bid for full UN membership with the UN Security Council on Friday, September 23.
Netanyahu met today with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas. Speaking at a press conferees held in Jerusalem after their meeting, Netanyahu said: “I have decided to personally convey the message of direct negotiation and striving for peace at the General Assembly – I know Israel doesn’t get a fair hearing at the General Assembly. It has an automatic majority which is quick to denounce Israel. I have decided to go… to tell the truth.”
Israel’s position, he said, has remained the same: “The only way for a Palestinian state to come to be is through negotiations. The PA’s decision (to appeal to the UNSC) could change tomorrow. I’ll be at the UN. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be at the UN. We could save the trip – Ramallah is only 10 minutes away. Direct negotiations are the simplest way to achieve peace.
“I hope that the Palestinians will eventually understand that there is no other alternative,” he said.
Addressing recent remarks by the PLO’s Ambassador to the United States, who said that any future Palestinian state must be free of Jews, Netanyahu said that he “regretted to hear a Palestinian official speak of Judenrein. It is a disgrace and I expect the Palestinian Authority to denounce the statement.”
Czech PM Necas told reporters that Prague does not support any unilateral steps, but refrained for detailing how his country will vote on the Palestinian recognition.
“At this time, we are still unfamiliar with the content (of the bid) and with the procedure set for the vote… any unilateral steps can only harm the peace process, and as I said, we do not support any unilateral steps.”
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has refused addressing the Palestinians’ drive to be recognized by the UN, saying that he is leaving the decision on the matter to the members of the international body.
The UN chief, who spoke at a news conference, expressed concern over the stalled negotiations between Israel and the PA, saying “time is not our friend.”