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Netanyahu: Iran’s Threat A Blessing As Israel Strengthens Ties With Arab States

Israeli Prime Minister highlights the unintended positive consequences of the common threat posed by Iran

The “tyrants of Tehran” have been nothing but a curse since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, he told the body on Sept. 22 in New York City. But they have unintentionally been a blessing too.

“The common threat of Iran has brought Israel and many Arab states closer than ever before, in a friendship that I have not seen in my lifetime,” said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu described the biblical story of Moses separating the Israelites between two mountains, with Mount Gerizim associated with blessings and Mount Ebal with curses. He held up a map of the Middle East and a red pen, and noted that he had demonstrated the Iranian threat to the region using the same props in 2018.

That curse had become a blessing, as Israel has normalized agreements with much of the Arab world, creating “a new Middle East,” he said.

Netanyahu noted that the “so-called experts” had been pessimistic of normalization between Israel and the Arab world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 22, 2023. UNGA/ SCREENSHOT.

“They were based on one false idea—that unless we first concluded a peace agreement with the Palestinians, no other Arab state would normalize its relations with Israel,” he said.

“I have long sought to make peace with the Palestinians, but I also believe that we must not give the Palestinians a veto over new peace treaties with Arab states. The Palestinians could greatly benefit from a broader peace,” he added. “They should be part of that process, but they should not have a veto over the process.”

Netanyahu added that the Abraham Accords will also make peace likelier with the Palestinians, who represent just two percent of the Arab world.

“They believe that the other 98% will remain in a warlike state with Israel, that larger mass, that larger Arab world [will] eventually choke, dissolve and destroy the Jewish state,” said Netanyahu. “When the Palestinians see that most of the Arab world has reconciled itself to the Jewish state, they too will be more likely to abandon the fantasy of destroying Israel and finally embrace a path of genuine peace.”

He called the Abraham Accords “a pivot of history,” and said the whole world is reaping the benefits of the Accords.

A looming peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia will have long-reaching implications, including encouraging other Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel, Netanyahu predicted.

“All these are tremendous blessings,” he said.

Israel can become a “bridge of prosperity” and can help create a “new Middle East,” he added. “Peace can only be achieved if it’s based on truth,” and not on demonizing Israel.

As long as Netanyahu is in power, he will do all he can to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, he said, calling for “snapping back” sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

He called Iran “a fly in the ointment,” extending its tentacles of terrorism throughout the world. “They even tried to assassinate the secretary of state of the United States of America. They even tried to assassinate the national security advisor of the United States of America,” Netanyahu said, as the U.N. camera panned to empty Iranian seats in the room.

“This tells you all that you need to know about Iran’s murderous intentions and Iran’s murderous nature,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli prime minister called the oppressed Iranian people the true partners in peace.

Netanyahu also discussed the “perils” of artificial intelligence. “We must do so quickly and we must do so together. We must ensure that that promise of the AI utopia doesn’t turn into an AI dystopia,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 22, 2023. UNGA/ SCREENSHOT.

He also discussed the potential of AI, including in medical technologies. “I know it sounds like a John Lennon song,” he said. But he said AI is already changing the world and expressed confidence that AI will help all of humanity. He noted that Israel is among the nations leading on this front.

World leaders must collectively ensure that artificial intelligence helps prevent instead of starting wars, helps people live longer, healthier and more productive and peaceful lives, Netanyahu said. “It’s within our reach.”

Earlier in the week, the Israeli prime minister met on the sidelines of the UNGA with U.S. President Joe Biden and António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, as well as the presidents or top leaders of Germany, Turkey, South Korea, Ukraine, Paraguay, Congo, Malawi, South Sudan and the Pacific nations of Palau, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

During meetings with Netanyahu, leaders of Congo and Paraguay announced their intentions to open, or reopen, embassies in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu also met in New York with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In California, he met with and held a live online discussion with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Earlier in the week, Jordanian and Iranian leaders criticized Israel repeatedly in their remarks at the UNGA, and U.N. police temporarily detained Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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