Netanyahu to Address UN on Saudi Peace and Iran’s Menace

President Joe Biden holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, after meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and various world leaders over the past few days, is scheduled to deliver a crucial address at the UN General Assembly on Friday. This marks his first appearance at the UN since 2018, and his speech will pivot around two paramount themes: the prospect of a historic peace agreement with Saudi Arabia and the looming threat posed by Iran to Israel, the Middle East, and the global community.

In addition to these international matters, Netanyahu will also tackle the internal turmoil within Israel, notably the government’s legislative efforts aimed at reforming the judicial system. These reforms have spurred mass protests in Israel over the past nine months, with hundreds of thousands of Israelis taking to the streets to voice their concerns about what they perceive as a challenge to the country’s democratic foundations. These protests even extended to the United States during the prime minister’s visit.

The timing of Netanyahu’s speech coincides with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s recent statement in an interview, suggesting that the possibility of a peace deal with Israel is steadily approaching. While this comment surprised many in Israel, officials were less enthused when the Saudi prince also declared that if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia would pursue them as well, potentially sparking a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Bin Salman stressed that any peace agreement must address the interests of the Palestinians, emphasizing the importance of improving their lives and positioning Israel as a constructive regional player. He expressed willingness to collaborate with any Israeli leader to achieve these goals.

On a related note, Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN on Thursday, highlighting that no peace deal can disregard the rights of the Palestinian people. He called upon the international community to implement even a single resolution aimed at ending the Israeli occupation and sought UN protection from the occupation forces for Palestinians.

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