Photo: Reuters

Israeli FM urges Palestinians to return to the negotiating table

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz reiterated Jerusalem’s concerns vis-à-vis Iran, which he called the key instigator of malign behavior in the Middle East at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. He said: “The main problem threatening stability and security in the Middle East is Iran, which threatens to destroy Israel and works against the regimes of many countries in the region. Iran uses its proxy terror organizations, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen and Shi’ite militias in Syria and Iraq against Israel and also against other states in the Middle East.”

The Israeli top diplomat also serves as Jerusalem’s intelligence Minister. He went on to point a blaming finger at the Islamic Republic for the September 14th attacks on Saudi oil facilities, he said were clearly aimed at destabilizing global oil supply. In his words: “We recently saw a serious escalation, in which Iranian missiles were launched from Iran against Saudi oil facilities in order to destabilize world oil supplies. This terror attack against Saudi Arabia was done on the direct orders of Iranian leader, Ali Khamenei. Iran is the biggest terror state and the biggest sponsor of terror in the world. I call on the international community to unite in order to stop Iran. The world cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, the world cannot allow Iran to develop ballistic missiles and the world must stop Iran from supporting terror organizations in the region.”

Minister Katz also took the opportunity to condemn Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his rhetoric against the Jewish State, saying: “You, that brutally oppress the Turkish people, slaughter the Kurdish minority, and support the terror organization Hamas, you are the last one that can lecture Israel. You are not the Sultan and Turkey is no the Ottoman Empire. Shame on You!”

With regard to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s Foreign Minister called on the Palestinians to cease incitement, stop encouraging and financing terrorism, and to recognize the Jewish right to a state in its ancestral homeland. The Israeli top diplomat stressed that: “Israel wants peace with all of its neighbors. We signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and are working today to advance our relations with many Arab states in the region. We call on the Palestinian Authority to stop incitement, to stop encouraging and financing terrorism, and to recognize the right of the Jewish people to its own state. We call on the Palestinians to come back to direct negotiations without any preconditions.”

Earlier in the day, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas used his addressed to the General Assembly to condemned Washington for its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Abbas urged U.S. President Donald Trump to rescind his decision on Jerusalem and to reverse his administrations’ severance of financial aid to Ramallah, which Abbas claimed ‘had undermined the prospects of a two-state solution to the decades old conflict.’

That said, the Palestinian leader went on to declare before the international community, that regardless of Washington’s actions, Jerusalem will always remain the capital of Palestine. He said: “Jerusalem will remain, despite all of these measures, Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of Palestine, regardless of any schemes or actions.”

The Palestinian President also addressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election pledge to annex the Jordan Valley, which is one of the three districts of the West Bank., saying: “A week before the recent Israeli elections, Israel’s Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu came out to arrogantly announce that should he prevail in the elections he would annex and apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, Northern Dead Sea and Israel’s colonial settlements despite the fact that all these areas are occupied Palestinian territory. We reject entirely and completely this plan.”