Netanyahu Declares New Dawn for Middle East

Sep 22, 2023 5:00 pm | Virtual Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City, presented a future vision for the Middle East, firmly placing Israel and Saudi Arabia at the heart of what could be a historic shift in regional dynamics.

Using a red marker to emphasize his point on a map of The New Middle East, Netanyahu articulated the potential of a peace pact between Israel and Saudi Arabia. “We are on the cusp of a historic peace with Saudi Arabia,” he affirmed. This new peace would not just break down barriers between the two nations but would also pave the way for a corridor of peace and prosperity connecting Asia, via the UAE and Saudi Arabia, through Israel, and all the way to Europe.

Such a vision, Netanyahu believes, is a realization of the promise of the Abraham Accords, which had already started to change the face of the region. “The Abraham Accords brought Arabs and Jews closer together,” he said, citing examples of Jewish weddings in Dubai and Holocaust lessons given to Arab students in the UAE.

However, Netanyahu’s speech wasn’t just focused on the prospects of peace. He confronted the pressing concerns of the day, particularly the rising threat of artificial intelligence. Framing it in biblical terms, as both a “blessing and a curse,” Netanyahu called upon the world to ensure that the utopian promise of AI doesn’t descend into a dystopian reality. He envisioned benefits in various sectors from health care to transportation, hoping that Israeli advancements in AI would be a beacon for the rest of the world. “Our goal must be to ensure that AI brings more freedom and not less; prevents wars, instead of starting them,” he said, urging the international community to retain the human essence of empathy, something machines cannot replicate.

On the issue of Iran, the Prime Minister didn’t mince words. He criticized the international community for its perceived indifference to the Iranian nuclear threat. Emphasizing that Iran’s breach of the nuclear deal had not been met with the promised reimposition of sanctions, Netanyahu declared, “This policy must change.” His stance on Iran was unequivocal: “As long as I’m Prime Minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu also addressed the controversy surrounding the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. Criticizing Abbas for recent comments about the Holocaust, Netanyahu underscored that genuine peace can only be based on truth and not vilification. Recognizing the hardships of war and citing personal losses, he reiterated his commitment to overcoming obstacles to peace.

As he wrapped up his address, he expressed gratitude to US President Joe Biden for his commitment to peace. “Just as we achieved the Abraham Accords under President Trump, I truly believe we can achieve peace with Saudi Arabia under the leadership of President Biden,” Netanyahu said, expressing hope for the future while acknowledging the complex realities of the present.