This week in New York world leaders are present to talk about international affairs. It is the annual General Assembly of the United Nations. The most pressing topics were a priority. A lot of time was expanded on the situation in Syria and the cease fire deal that couldn’t hold for longer than a few days. Also high on the agenda was the refugee crisis that is getting progressively worse. At a separate event, leaders talked about the Paris accord and the possibility of ratifying it before November.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech
The UN General Assembly is the arena for big political games. But the United Nations invites all nations and welcomes the contribution of any. It’s not just the major players, like the United States or Russia that have something to say. And even though, sadly, there are more dramatic events taking place in the region the Middle East is still a topic that should hold our attention.
The relationship between Israel and Palestine is now in the shadow of larger, more menacing conflicts. The five-year civil war in Syria and the situation in Yemen grab attention more easily. But the region still remains tense, although the number of casualties is thankfully low in comparison to tragedies next door. With Israel and the Palestine everything is ongoing, reminding us that there is yet no solution to the situation.
Yesterday was Israel’s turn to give a speech to the General Assembly. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed open to conversation with Palestine. He invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Israel. The invitation was for Mahmoud Abbas to address the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. In turn, Netanyahu made himself available for a visit as well. He offered to speak in front of the Palestinian legislature.
Palestine Reacts to the Speech, Rejecting Invitation
The reaction from the Palestinian side was not a positive one. They rejected the invitation and called it a “new gimmick”. Palestine feels that the speech was meant only to mask how Israel really feels about moving forward with the peace process in the Middle East.
Benjamin Netanyahu gave his speech shortly after Mahmoud Abbas delivered his speech. When looking at the two points of view expressed, two different paths are visible. Peace talks between the two parties have been stagnating for over two years. Bringing everyone back to the table might prove difficult. The two sides see different paths for achieving that. The difference between the two speeches showed that the two worlds, although close neighbors, are far apart.
On the Israel side, Netanyahu said that he was ready to negotiate “all final status”. But that he is not willing to negotiate “the right to a one and only Jewish state”.
The Israeli Prime Minister rejects a freeze of the settlement process and any kind of division of Jerusalem. Also, he rejects having the 1967 borders be the basis for talks. With regard to the settlements, he has said that he will not uproot them.
On the Palestinian side, Mahmoud Abbas decried Israel’s settlement policy that he called “abhorrent”. He asked that the United Nations have a greater role in efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Image source: here.