Today, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for full membership at the United Nations. Abbas addressed the United Nations General Assembly, criticizing Jewish settlements and ignoring Israel’s legitimate security concerns. Hadassah joins the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Israel Action Network in their responses to President Abbas’ speech and his bid for unilateral Palestinian statehood.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the General Assembly, emphasizing the Israeli people’s desire for both safety and peace. Netanyahu also stated, "Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we're not prepared to have another Gaza there. The Palestinians must first make peace with Israel, and only then get their state."
“I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace,” Netanyahu said, adding that if there was such a peace, “Israel will not be the last state to welcome a Palestinian state into the United Nations. We will be the first."
Netanyahu offered to meet with Abbas in Israel or Ramallah, then suggested that since both leaders were in the same city, in the same building, they should restart direct negotiations without delay. “Let’s meet here today in the United Nations,” he concluded.
Shortly after both speeches, White House officials announced that the Quartet—comprised of the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia—plans to announce an agreement on new terms for direct negotiations. Officials hope that this agreement will help restart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Please stay tuned for transcripts of both speeches and additional updates.Date: 9/23/2011