PM rips UN for Ahmadinejad 'disgrace', Goldstone report
Quote:Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday spoke before the United Nations General Assembly, calling to task the nations of the world on the international body's responsibility and criticizing them for not standing up to it.
"The UN was founded after the carnage of World War II," Netanyahu said, adding the organization was "charged with preventing the reoccurrence of such horrendous events.
"Nothing has impeded" the work of the UN, he said, "more than the systematic assault on the truth.
"Yesterday the president of Iran stood at this podium spewing anti-Semitic rants… Just a few days earlier he claimed the Holocaust is a lie.
"Last month I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee," Netanyahu recalled a visit to the pastoral villa, where over just a few hours on January 20 1942 the Nazis devised the Final Solution - the decision to exterminate the Jews from Europe.
Netanyahu then dramatically showed a facsimile copy of Final Solution documents drafted in Wannsee.
"Is this protocol a lie?" he asked. "Is the German government lying?"
"The day before I was in Wannsee," Netanyahu continued, "I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
"These plans I now hold in my hand," he said, as he was showing the worn-out blueprints to the assembly. "They contain a signature by Heinrich Himmler, Hitler's deputy.
"Are these plans of the camp where one million Jews were murdered a lie too?" he asked.
Netanyahu then turned to attacking Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying "Yesterday, the man who called the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. For those who refused to come, and those who left in protest - I commend you, you stood up for moral clarity.
"But for those who stayed - I say on behalf of the Jewish people, my people and decent people everywhere - have you no shame? No decency? What a disgrace, what a mockery of the charter of the UN."
Netanyahu then told the assembly "perhaps some of you think that this man and his regime threaten only the Jews - well, if you think that - you're wrong, dead wrong.
"In the past 30 years, this fanaticism spread across the globe with a murderous violence that knows no bounds," he said, noting that Islamic terrorism hurt Muslims, Christian and Hindus as well as Jews.
"Wherever they can," the prime minister said of Islamic fanatics, "they enforce a backward system of government." He called the struggle between the modern world and extremist Islamism a struggle between "the 21st Century and the 9th Century."
But, he noted, "Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And our future promises magnificent bounties of hope."
Naming some of the technological achievements of the last hundred years, Netanyahu finished "We will find an alternative to fossil fuel, and yes, we will clean up the planet. But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history can be reversed" for a lengthy period of time, he warned.
"This is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and weapons of mass destruction."
"Is the UN up to that?" Netanyahu asked. "Will the international community stand up to the despotism of a government against its own people?" he asked, referring to the recent elections in Iran. "The jury is still out on the UN. Recent signs are not encouraging."
The prime minister then went on to criticize the recently published UN-commissioned report claiming both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January.
"Not one UN resolution was passed condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel," Netanyahu said, "We heard nothing, absolutely nothing from the UN Human Rights Council."
Netanyahu went on to describe the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, telling the UN General Assembly that "Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza, uprooting over 8,000 Israelis from their homes… because many in Israel believed that this would get peace."
But Israel didn't get peace, Netanyahu said, "Instead we got an Iranian-backed terror base 50 miles from Tel Aviv, and life in the Israeli towns and cities near Gaza became nothing less than a nightmare. Hamas attacks increased ten-fold after we withdrew, and again, the UN was silent, absolutely silent."
The prime minister told the assembly that "after 8 years of unremitting assault Israel was forced to respond," and said the only other example in history was the German bombing of British cities in WWII, to which the allies responded by leveling German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties.
"I'm not passing judgment," Netanyahu stressed, "I'm stating a fact that is the product of decisions of just and great leaders fighting an evil enemy," he said.
"Faced with an enemy committing double war crimes - firing at civilians while hiding behind civilians - Israel sought to carry out surgical attacks on terrorists, not an easy task when fighting squads in a densely populated area," he said.
"Israel tried to minimize civilian casualties…We dropped countless flyers over Gazans' homes, sent text messages to Palestinian residents, made cellular phone calls urging them to vacate, to leave," the prime minister said, stating that "never has a country gone to such length to remove the enemy's civilian population away from harm's way."
Netanyahu went on to slam the Goldstone report, saying that "the UN Human Rights Council decided to condemn Israel, we were morally hanged, given an unfair trial to boot… What a perversion of truth and justice."
The prime minister urged the international community to reject the report, and warned that if the claims of Israeli war crimes are accepted "the UN would revert to its darkest age - when Zionism was equated with racism," referring to a UN resolution adopted by the general assembly in 1975.
The prime minister said that "If the report is not rejected, the UN will go into a process of vitiating itself from relevance," adding that by accepting the report "the world will be sending a message to terrorists that terrorism pays - you will win immunity of you launch your attacks from densely populated areas."
As Netanyahu continued to speak about Operation Cast Lead, the Palestinian delegate to the UN left the hall.
"What a travesty!" Netanyahu said of the Goldstone report. "The biased and unjust report provided a clear-cut test to all governments - will you stand with Israel or with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now - not later. If Israel is asked to take more risks for peace we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow," said Netanyahu. "We can take further risks for peace only if we have confidence that we can defend ourselves."
The prime minister stressed that "All of Israel wants peace," noting that Israel made peace with Egypt and Jordan, and vowing that "If the Palestinians truly want peace, we will make peace. But we want a defensible peace, permanent peace."
"We ask the Palestinians to say yes to a Jewish state, as simple, as clear, as elementary as that. We are not foreign conquerors in the land of Israel. We are not strangers to this land - this is our homeland, but as deeply connected as we are to this place, we recognize that the Palestinians also live here and they want a home, we want to live side by side in peace, prosperity and dignity."
Netanyahu explained that Israel must also have security, and therefore insisted that the Palestinian state not be a militarized state.
"The Palestinian state must be affectively demilitarized because we don't want another Gaza, or south Lebanon, another Iranian-backed terror base near Jerusalem. We want peace and I believe that with goodwill and hard work such a peace can be achieved, but it requires from all of us to roll back the forces of terror backed by Iran that seek to eliminate Israel and overthrow world order," he said.
Netanyahu concluded his speech with a quote from the book of Joshua: "Let us be strong and of good courage let us confront the peril… let us forge an enduring peace for generations to come."
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara
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