Netanyahu to address UN as Palestinians make statehood bid

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies) — Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday he will address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, September 23, the same day the Palestinian Authority intends to submit its bid for UN membership.

“The General Assembly is not a place where Israel usually receives a fair hearing,”  Netanyahu told a press conference with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas in Jerusalem. “But I still decided to tell the truth before anyone who would like to hear it.

“I have decided to convey the twin messages of direct negotiations for peace and the quest for peace,” Netanyahu said.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced earlier that the Palestinians would submit their membership bid to the Security Council on September 23. The US has declared that it would veto such a request.

Netanyahu told the cabinet at its weekly meeting on Sunday that he is confident the Security Council will block what he called the Palestinians’ attempt to bypass negotiations. He said he will present to the General Assembly “our truth and–in my opinion–the general truth, which is our desire for peace. The fact that we are not foreigners in this land, that we have rights

in this land that go back ‘only’ 4,000 years, I will say this loud and clear.”

COUNTDOWN AT THE UN

Sunday, Sept. 18: PA President Mahmoud Abbas leaves for New York; Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak meets in New York with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad; Quartet envoys (US, EU, Russia, UN) meet in New York to try to restart negotiations between Israel and the PA.

Tuesday, Sept. 20: Prime Minister Netanyahu leaves for New York to head a delegation of six ministers to the General Assembly.

Wednesday, Sept. 21: Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama; Abbas is invited to a reception given by Obama at the UN.

Thursday, Sept. 22: Netanya is to hold bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders in an effort to convince them to vote against or abstain in the vote for Palestinian statehood; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to address the General Assembly.

Friday, Sept. 23: Abbas is to address the assembly and request statehood from the Security Council, a matter which could be decided in days or weeks; Netanyahu is to address the assembly after Abbas.