Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech on Thursday at the United Nations sidestepped the issue of Palestine and ranted against Iran, claiming a nuclear-armed Iran is the equivalent of “a nuclear al-Qaeda.”
Netanyahu came to the podium not long after Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Abbas’s speech focused entirely on facts and figures of Israeli crimes and occupation and urged a peaceful settlements along the territorial lines of pre-1967 Israel.
But Netanyahu only addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict vaguely and briefly, reaffirming that “3,000 years ago King David ruled over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem,” and criticizing Abbas that “we won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN.”
Most of the speech centered on the issue of Iran and their nuclear program, which Tehran repeatedly claims is for peaceful purposes only and which US intelligence has repeatedly found is not being weaponized.
“Nothing could emperil my country more than arming Iran with nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, ignoring the intelligence that Iran dismantled its nuclear weapons program as far back as 2003 and disregarding a broad scholarly consensus that Iran would never launch a nuclear weapon at Israel.
“Militant Islam has many branches, from the rulers of Iran with their revolutionary guards to al-Qaida… but they’re all rooted in the same soil” of intolerance, Netanyahu said.
“To imagine what the world would be like with a nuclear Iran, imagine what the world would be like with a nuclear al-Qaida,” he claimed. “There’s no difference.”
The Prime Minister then held up a cheap picture, which he called a “diagram,” with a cartoon bomb and denoting the level of uranium enrichment Iran has reached.
The attempt was made here to indicate that Iran is extremely close to developing a nuclear weapon, even though US intelligence has concluded that it would take Iran at least four years to build a deliverable bomb. Four years, that is, from the point at which the decision to develop nuclear weapons was made, which Iran has not yet done.