After three days of hearing praise for the Iran nuclear agreement, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had his chance to address the 70th United Nations General Assembly on Thursday afternoon, he told those present to “check your enthusiasm at the door.”
The prime minister asserted that the deal makes war more likely and denounced Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, alleging that Iran has sent thousands of soldiers into Syria to “prop up Assad’s brutal regime” and has threatened to open up two new terror fronts against Israel.
“Iran’s been doing all of this, everything I just described, just in the last six months when it was trying to convince the world to remove sanctions,” said Netanyahu. Without sanctions in place, Netanyahu said, “Iran will go on the prowl devouring more and more prey.”
In a dramatic moment, Netanyahu took a lengthy pause, scanning the room after saying that the response from the U.N. to Iran’s declarations against the Jewish state was “utter silence, deafening silence.”
He acknowledged that it would be easier to keep quiet rather than stand in opposition to the majority of the world that supports the nuclear agreement, but, he said, “I refuse to remain silent.”
“The days when the Jewish people remained silent in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over,” said Netanyahu.
Toward the end of his nearly 40-minute long speech, the prime minister addressed the stalled peace process and, in response to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech the day before in which he stated that the Palestinians would not be bound by previous agreements, called for renewed negotiations without preconditions.
“Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to abide by its commitments,” said Netanyahu. “The Palestinians should not walk away from peace.”