Monday, September 29, 2014

PM Netanyahu Speaks To UN

Joel Rosenberg: Netanyahu At UN Warns 'Militant Islam Is On The March' From Hamas To ISIS, But Greatest Threat Is A Nuclear Armed Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the opening Fall session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday by noting that “militant Islam is on the march” and warning the leaders of the world that “to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle and lose the war.”
The Israeli premier cast the recent war with Hamas as part of the broader Radical Islamic jihad that is sweeping across the region from Gaza to Syria to Iran. But he stated that the greatest threat to his country and the world was a nuclear armed Iranian regime, or one that could rapidly produce nuclear warheads.
Netanyahu said he sees a new alignment of interests between Israel and moderate Arab nations in the region, and suggested such a realignment — involving common threats from ISIS, Hamas and an Iranian nuclear power — could help lead to a sustainable peace deal with the Palestinians.
“I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people,” Netanyahu told his fellow presidents and prime ministers.
He reached out to “Cairo, Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere,” noted the Times of Israel, and asserted that a rapprochement with Israel by such Arab players could in turn yield a peace agreement with the Palestinians, which, he also said, “will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise.”
“Israel wants to transform our common interests with moderate Arab states to a partnership that can facilitate peace with Palestinians.”

Here are some of the key lines from the address that caught my attention:
  • “To defeat ISIS & leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle & lose the war.”
  • “ISIS & Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. They share the same fanatical creed.”
  • “The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith.”
  • “Militant Islam is on the march. It’s not militants. It’s not Islam. It’s militant Islam.”
  • “What would your countries do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities?”
  • “You wouldn’t let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity.”
  • “Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas.”
  • “Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles.”
  • “No other country and no other army in history has gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemy.”
  • “Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. Israel did everything to minimize Palestinian casualties.”
  • “Allowing Iran to reach nuclear capabilities will pose the greatest threat to us all.”
  • “A broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
  • “Israel is prepared to work with Arab partners to confront dangers and seize opportunities.”
  • “There is a new Middle East. It presents new dangers but also new opportunities.”
  • “In any peace agreement I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself.”
  • “The UNHCR has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. The Human Rights Council has become the Terrorist Rights Council.”
  • Quoting Scripture: “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still.”

There were no gimmicks. Few excruciating one-liners. Just a single visual aid: a photograph of three children in Gaza at play right next to a rocket launcher.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a no-nonsense address to the United National General Assembly on Monday — presenting himself as the leader of a “proud and unbowed” nation, charged with the “awesome responsibility” of ensuring his much-threatened people’s future in a brutal, unstable region.

But the outlook he presented was immensely grim, nonetheless. His bitter overview, he said toward the end of his remarks, “may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but it is the truth. And the truth must always be spoken, especially here in the United Nations.”
As spoken by Netanyahu, the truth is that “militant Islam is on the march,” that its ambitions are global, and that all its many, sometimes competing factions are “branches of the same poisonous tree.” Thus it is ridiculous and self-defeating for countries to support the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State but criticize Israel for tackling Hamas. If not stopped in its tracks, he indicated, Islamic extremism would come for everyone.
The truth, as further set out by the prime minister, is that the most potent such example of globally ambitious militant Islam is what he took pains to call “the Islamic state of Iran,” which has been seeking to export its revolution for 35 years and must be denied the nuclear weapons to further its radical cause. Just as world powers would not let IS enrich uranium, build a heavy water reactor or develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, so Iran must not be allowed to “do those things either,” he insisted. “To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war,” he declared — a point he considered so fundamental that he repeated the sentence.

The truth, Netanyahu asserted too, is that Israel has faced “libelous charges” of deliberately killing civilians in its war against Hamas terrorism this summer, when in fact “no other country and no other army in history” had gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemy. The IDF, he declared, “upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world… Israel’s soldiers deserve not condemnation but admiration. Admiration from decent people everywhere.”

It is Hamas, said Netanyahu, that committed war crimes. It is Hamas, not Israel, that the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should have singled out for castigation from the same UN podium last Friday, and it is Hamas that the UN should be investigating. Indeed, by focusing its bias on Israel, he charged, the UN’s Human Rights Council was “sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere” — to use civilians as human shields. The UN Human Rights Council “has thus become a terrorists’ rights council,” he lamented.

For Netanyahu, that UN bias was just one dire manifestation of another awful truth — the revival of the disease of anti-Semitism, as reflected in calls from “mobs in Europe” for the gassing of Jews, and some national leaders making foul comparisons of Israel to the Nazis. “This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It’s a function of diseased minds. And that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism,” he said. “It is now spreading in polite society, where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel.”

Having fumed since Friday at Abbas’s accusation that Israel committed “genocide” in Gaza this summer, Netanyahu batted the charge away here in just a few angry sentences. The Jewish state was being demonized with “the apartheid libel” and allegations of genocide, he said in horror. “In what moral universe,” he asked, did warning the enemy’s civilian population to get out of the way, ensuring humanitarian aid, and setting up a field hospital to aid the enemy’s wounded, constitute genocide? “The same moral universe,” he answered, in which Abbas could level his accusations from the UN podium. The genocide charge, he also noted, had been made by the selfsame Palestinian leader who, as a student, produced “a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust” and who now insists upon “a Palestine free of Jews — Judenrein.”
If Abbas’s speech left little prospect of future dealings with Netanyahu, the prime minister made clear in those few sentences that he will not be inclined to interact any further with Abbas.
The next truth as delivered by Netanyahu was, like it or not, that the Middle East has changed for the worse in recent years, that states were “disintegrating,” that Islamic militant groups had filled the vacuum when Israel left Gaza and South Lebanon, and thus that Israel had heightened concerns about territorial concessions in the future. Israel simply could not tolerate IS within mortar range — the situation that would prevail if Islamic militants took control of the West Bank. And thus, under any peace agreement, he said, repeating a theme he had returned to several times during the summer, “I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”
There were some, he said — choosing to name no names, after months of friction with the US over West Bank security proposals — who “still don’t take Israel’s security concerns seriously. But I do,” said Netanyahu, “and I always will, because as prime minister of Israel I am entrusted with the awesome responsibility of ensuring the future of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.” And “no matter what pressure is brought to bear,” he pledged, “I will never waver in fulfilling that responsibility.”
In those phrases, Netanyahu vouchsafed his deepest truth of all — highlighting the sheer weight of the burden he feels he carries, albeit one he considers himself uniquely well-equipped to shoulder.
This passage came at the end of a speech that his critics at home and abroad, he knew, would immediately seize upon as defensive, stubborn and bleak. In Netanyahu’s worldview, however, he was merely being realistic, firm and clear-headed.

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