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Elusive Peace in the Middle East

November 30, 2016
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Addressing the UN General Assembly


PM Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly (Photo credit: Ashernet)

“Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests? We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Addressing the 71st UN General Assembly

“Allow me to deviate from the written statement to address an appeal to the Israeli leadership and Israeli people…We have a real opportunity to write a bright page in the history of our region, to move toward peace.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Addressing the 71st UN General Assembly

“The United Nations was created on the broken bones of the Jewish people, so that the horror of the Holocaust would never be repeated. The Secretary General’s statement today at the opening session of the General Assembly sadly missed an opportunity to denounce terrorism and urge the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table…Holding Israel disproportionately responsible for the deteriorating conditions separating Israelis and Palestinians does not further the cause of peace.”

World Jewish Congress President, Ronald S. Lauder

“Instead of focusing on Palestinian terror and incitement, and instead of compelling [Palestinian Authority head] Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table, the [UN] Secretary-General chose to criticize Israel once again. This is an obsession with Israel and it must end.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon
Addressing the 71st UN General Assembly

Is Construction Really an Obstacle?

The Palestinians, along with part of the international community, view Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria as illegal or illegitimate. They claim the growing number of Israelis makes it increasingly difficult to establish their own state in these territories.

Max Gelber, United with Israel 

“It pains me that this past decade has been lost to peace. Ten years lost to illegal settlement expansion. Ten years lost to intra-Palestinian divide, growing polarization and hopelessness,” he said, calling West Bank [Judea–Samaria] settlements “obstacles to progress.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
Addressing the 71st UN General Assembly

“The report [released by the “Quartet on the Middle East” which consists of the UN, US, EU and Russia] also perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria] is an obstacle to peace. When Israel froze settlements, it did not get peace. When Israel uprooted every settlement in Gaza, it did not get peace. It got war.

“It is troubling that the Quartet appears to have adopted the position that the presence of Jews living in the West Bank somehow prevents reaching a two-state solution.   

“Israel rejects any attempt to draw moral equivalence between construction and terrorism.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Responding to Quartet Report

Who Is Guilty of Ethnic Cleansing?

“No one would seriously claim that the nearly 2 million Arabs living inside Israel, that they’re an obstacle to peace,” Netanyahu said. “Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing.

“It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous,” he added. “Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Video responding to criticism of Israeli construction

“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank [Judea–Samaria]. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful.”

US Secretary of State spokesperson, Elizabeth Trudeau
Responding to Netanyahu’s video-taped remarks

“These are silly claims,” he said. “It’s Netanyahu who conducts ethnic cleansing every day in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories by announcing (new) settlement units… The settlements are an ongoing war.”

PA Presidential advisor, Ahmed Majdalani
Responding to Netanyahu’s video-taped remarks

What Lies Ahead?


The 1917 Balfour Declaration

Vaknin-Gil warned that 2017 is expected to be a “very problematic” year, due to the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War—after which Israel took control of the West Bank [Judea–Samaria] from Jordan; the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; and the Golan Heights from Syria—and the 100th anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, in which the United Kingdom announced its support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

“These dates are going to be used to intensify anti-Israel activities,” Vaknin-Gil said. “So we are now preparing a plan to handle this. We must be ready.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs
Interview for The Algemeiner


“By the end of this coming year, 100 years will have passed since the Balfour Declaration…by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.

 “The international community’s ability to advance the rights of our people and ensure their exercise of those rights and to end the oppression and injustice imposed on them for seven decades would surely constitute a unique opportunity for peace, stability and coexistence to prevail in our region and between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.

 “I call on you to declare 2017 as the international year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people, as we approach in June 2017 a half century of this abhorrent Israeli occupation.”

Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas
Addressing the 71st UN General Assembly


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