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Thu. Sep 22, 2016 News from Israel

  • In UN speech, Netanyahu invites Abbas to address the Knesset in Jerusalem
  • Abbas vows to submit UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements
  • Syrian president Bashar Assad blames US for Syria truce collapse

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday by blasting the UN for its anti-Israel bias. Netanyahu told the UN that 160 countries have ties with Israel, “nearly double the number we had when I served here as ambassador some 30 years ago." Netanyahu said that Arab nations were coming around to Israel in the face of mutual enemies. He paid tribute to Israel’s deepest friendship with the US, which he called “the most powerful and most generous nation on earth.” Netanyahu said that the heart of the conflict was not Israel’s settlements, but rather the Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state. The prime minister said he was ready to negotiate all final status issues, but vowed that he would never negotiate Israel's right to the one and only Jewish state.

In his speech PA President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly that the Palestinians have stuck to the agreements it has signed and called on Israel to do the same in order to reach a peace deal. Abbas told the UN that the PA was no longer willing to accept interim solutions to the conflict with Israel. Abbas said that Israel’s policy of settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would destroy whatever possibility was left of the two-state solution. Abbas said that Israel must counter Palestinian recognition of its statehood. Abbas said that the Security Council failed to take proper punitive measures against Israel for what he said was a land grab by the Jewish state, which was in violation of the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan. The PA president said that the entire world should recognize the state of Palestine. Abbas concluded his speech by asking that the world “to bring an end to the Israeli occupation of the land of the state of Palestine,” which he called “the longest and last occupation in contemporary history.”

Warplanes mounted the heaviest air strikes in months against rebel-held districts of the city of Aleppo overnight, as Russia and the Syrian government spurned a US plea to halt flights, burying any hope for the revival of a doomed ceasefire. Syrian president Bashar Assad has appeared as uncompromising as ever in recent weeks, reiterating his goal of taking back the whole country on the day the US-Russian brokered truce took effect.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira wrote on Thursday in his report that the state of Israel was not doing enough to uproot the grave phenomena of racism and hate in society. Shapira said the Education Ministry must give far more attention to the issue, in particular to combat racism among the country’s youth and in order to promote coexistence.

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