No veto for Palestinians on Arab peace treaties, Netanyahu tells UNGA

Prime Minister's speech comes as talks continue between Israel and Saudi Arabia on establishing ties

Benjamin Netanyahu: 'Palestinians should not have veto over Arab peace deals'

Benjamin Netanyahu: 'Palestinians should not have veto over Arab peace deals'
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The Palestinians should have no veto over any new peace treaties with Arab states, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday.

Mr Netanyahu's comments at the UN General Assembly come a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the world body to convene a peace conference, saying there could be no peace in the Middle East without addressing his people's rights.

The Prime Minister's remarks also come amid US-led talks aimed at Israel and Saudi Arabia establishing formal ties.

He added that the Palestinians could greatly benefit from a broader peace.

“They should be part of that process, but they should not have a veto over the process,” he said.

“When the Palestinians see that most of the Arab world has reconciled itself to the Jewish state, they too will be more likely to abandon the fantasy of destroying Israel and finally embrace a path of genuine peace with it.”

Mr Netanyahu displayed two maps, one showing Israel’s isolation at the time of its creation in 1948 and another showing the Arab countries that have normalised relations with it.

He argued that peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel “will truly create a new Middle East”.

“It will enhance the prospects of peace with the Palestinians. It will encourage a broader reconciliation between Judaism and Islam, between Jerusalem and Makkah.”

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with Fox News this week that the two sides are getting closer to an agreement.

Media reports have said a deal would also include US security guarantees.

In 2020, Israel forged diplomatic ties with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco, marking its initial normalisation efforts with the Arab world in decades, following earlier peace agreements with neighbouring Egypt and Jordan.

Mr Netanyahu also said that the prospect of Tehran getting a nuclear weapon has brought Israel and Arab states “closer than ever before”.

He warned that the “fly in the ointment” – Iran – would try to sabotage the deal with Saudi Arabia.

“The fanatics ruling Iran will do everything they can to thwart this historic peace,” he said.

“Iran continues to spend billions to arm its terror proxies. It continues to extend its terror tentacles in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, South America, even North America.”

He called for stronger sanctions in response to Iran's nuclear advances, which have quickened since then-president Trump pulled out of a deal to constrain the programme.

“Sanctions must be snapped back,” he said.

“As long as I'm Prime Minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

“It is the people of Iran, not their oppressors, that are our real partners for the future.”

Updated: September 22, 2023, 6:02 PM