Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, September 27, warning his audience that Iran’s nuclear weapon program is at a “critical point,” while eschewing approaches to combating the COVID-19 pandemic that rely on lockdown measures.
Following Bennett’s speech, Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) attacked it claiming that his address clearly demonstrates that the current government is continuing on the path of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “For years, former far-right Netanyahu’s government, and now that of Bennett, have repeated the same phrases: Concealing the occupation and the existence of the Palestinian people; claiming Israel’s moral superiority; and warmongering against Iran. These were the principles that guided Netanyahu’s right-wing government, and they are still guiding that of Bennett,” Touma-Sliman said in a statement. “Only a change of direction from the path of the political right will bring peace and security to both nations.”
The “leftist-Zionist” Meretz party, a partner in Bennett’s coalition, also criticized the PM’s speech for ignoring the Palestinians; but since the beginning of his Bennett’s government, Meretz’s influence over governmental policy towards the Palestinians and the occupation has proved to be negligible.
The Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, told Al-Shams radio station on Tuesday that Bennett’s failure to engage with the Palestinians in his speech showed an Israeli premier who “is out of touch with the international community” which cares deeply about the Palestinian issue. In a prerecorded video message to the United Nations General Assembly delivered on Friday, September 24, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Israel withdraw to the 1967 boundaries within one year or face the repercussions. “The Israeli authorities have one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem,” Abbas said. Should Israel fail to move towards establishing a Palestinian state “we will go to the International Court of Justice as the supreme international judicial body, on the issue of the legality of the occupation of the land of the Palestinian state,” Abbas said.