Less than an hour after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas finished speaking before the United Nations General Assembly about his wish for statehood, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to the lectern to give his side of the story.
Much of Netanyahu’s speech was laden with criticism of the United Nations, which he variously referred to as a “theater of the absurd” and a “place of darkness.”
A much-quoted highlight:
“Today I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country. So as Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth. (Cheers, applause.) The truth is—the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that in the Middle East at all times, but especially during these turbulent days, peace must be anchored in security. The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. And the truth is you shouldn’t let that happen.”