Netanyahu set for UN diplomatic showdown

September 16, 2011

By Tobias Buck in Jerusalem, Financial Times

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will address the UN General Assembly on Friday next week, setting the stage for a potentially dramatic diplomatic showdown with the Palestinians. He will speak on the same day that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, is due to deliver a landmark speech calling on the global body to support Palestinian statehood.

“The General Assembly is not a place where Israel usually receives a fair hearing,” Mr Netanyahu said on Thursday. “But I still decided to tell the truth before anyone who would like to hear it.”

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

The Israeli government, which opposes the Palestinian UN bid, had originally considered sending Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, to New York. Mr Peres is widely seen as a less divisive figure on the international stage than the prime minister. However, a failure by Mr Netanyahu to turn up at the UN next week could also have been interpreted as an unnecessary snub to the UN at a time when Israel is already facing growing diplomatic isolation.

The announcement suggests that the Israeli government now has little faith in the last-ditch effort by US and European negotiators to stop the Palestinian drive for statehood at the UN. According to several officials and diplomats, Mr Abbas on Wednesday rebuffed an alternative “package” that was drafted and presented by Tony Blair, the international community’s Middle East envoy.

The deal would have involved a statement by the Middle East Quartet (the US, UN, Russia and the European Union) calling for a return to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The statement would have included a timeline for negotiations and clearer terms of reference than were offered in the past – for example on the likely borders of a future Palestinian state. The package, according to several people involved in the talks, also held out the promise of a UN resolution, though one that would have stopped short of endorsing Palestinian statehood at this point.

Mr Abbas, however, told Mr Blair that the deal on offer was not sufficient. Palestinian officials said it fell short of, among other things, the Palestinian demand for Israel to freeze construction in Jewish West Bank settlements. It was also unclear whether the Israeli government itself was ready to accept the Quartet statement – a key point for Palestinian negotiators.

“We believe these last-minute moves were not for the sake of restarting peace talks, but for the sake of preventing the Palestinians from going to the UN,” one Palestinian official based in Ramallah said.

Mr Abbas is still facing strong pressure from senior US officials to step back from the UN move. However, most officials and diplomats believe that there is now little chance of stopping a Palestinian bid for statehood, which could take place either at the UN Security Council or in the UN General Assembly.

To read more, visit:


No comments yet - you can be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep the Fake News Media in check.

Don’t let the MSM censor your news as America becomes Great Again. Over 500,000 Americans receive our daily dose of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness along with Breaking News direct to their inbox—and you can too. Sign up to receive news and views from The 1776Coalition!

We know how important your privacy is and your information is SAFE with us. We’ll never sell
your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time directly from your inbox.
View our full privacy policy.