What was wrong with both speeches?

Posted on Sep 29, 2018

On Thursday,  September 27, 2018, both the Palestinian President Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the United Nations  General Assembly. 

by Samia Khoury

Samia Khoury presenting a copy of her book to Pope Francis during his visit to Bethlehem in 2014

Every time I listen to speeches like those, I keep hoping against hope that something new or fresh might come up to uplift our morale and truly give us reason to look forward to better days.  Of course it was necessary for president Abbas to draw the attention of the assembly that the USA has not been  an honest broker to the peace process, because they turned a blind eye to the violations of Israel to all the agreements signed with Israel.  He  announced that the Palestinians are not willing to continue  committing themselves to agreements that Israel has not kept, including the recognition of Israel, while Israel refuses to recognize Palestine or its right to self-determination.  He criticized the recently passed  Nation State Law, which actually has been criticized by many Jews inside and outside the State of Israel.  However it was very out of place for Mr. Abbas to carry the conflict with Hamas to the International Arena.  This is something that he should deal with on the local scene and if any help is needed it should be solved in the Arab Summit meetings. 

On the other hand, Mr. Netanyahu’s  main  emphasis,  before responding to some of the points that  Mr. Abbas referred to, was on Iran.  He had a theatrical presentation, showing diagrams and sites of nuclear facilities, which actually American experts announced immediately that it was false information.  Furthermore, he urged the world community not to tolerate this at all because this is a threat to the whole region.  And of course he thanked the president of the USA, Mr. Trump for pulling out of the agreement signed with Iran during the term of Mr. Obama, and urged other countries to do so

We have seen how previous false threats regarding Iraq led to a war, that the whole region is still suffering from.   How ironic indeed when Israel itself was the first country in the whole region that had  acquired a nuclear reactor  built in the Southern part of Israel as early as the fifties with the help of France at the time.   Over and above Israel has never signed the non-proliferation agreement, neither has it ever allowed any inspectors to the site. So by what right was Mr. Netanyahu  talking so vehemently about Iran as if it were  threatening the very existence of Israel.  “I have a message for the tyrants of Tehran – Israel knows what you’re doing,” Netanyahu said. He added that Israel will continue to act against Iran – “also in Syria and also in Iraq.”

Both Israel and Iran are aware of each other’s nuclear potential,  unless Israel has an ulterior motive to wage a war, the outcome of which will be a completely new Middle East, with the Palestinians being its collateral damage.