(JNS and combined sources) Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in New York on Sunday, September 26, where he was set to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas Greenfield before presenting Israel’s voice to the world at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.
Addressing reporters before boarding his flight, Bennett noted the “sweeping victory” in the United States House of Representatives, which passed a standalone bill to provide $1 billion in funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system, after a group of Democratic lawmakers forced the removal of that provision from a larger bill.
“At the moment of truth, we saw the representatives of the American people overwhelmingly support Israel, 420 to 9, in the vote on rearming the Iron Dome,” Bennett said. “There is a small anti-Israel group that makes a lot of noise, but these people failed.”
In related news, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders or face consequences, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, September 24.
Abbas, who accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” in his speech, threatened to reconsider recognition of Israel if the country did not return to negotiations and end its “occupation.”
Abbas also defended his government’s policy of distributing payments to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists or their families, known as “pay for slay.” The United States and Israel have sought to crack down on those payments in recent years.
The P.A. leader’s speech comes amid deepening unpopularity among Palestinians; a recent poll found that 80% want him to resign.
While Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has ruled out establishing a Palestinian state under his watch, ties between Israel and the P.A. have thawed in recent weeks. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas in late August, the first high-level contact in years. The Biden administration has also pushed to renew ties with the P.A., restoring humanitarian aid and funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), while looking to reopen its consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem and its mission in Washington, D.C.