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U.N.: Israeli prime minister challenges Palestinians to 'meet now'

September 23, 2011 | 12:33 pm


REPORTING FROM THE UNITED NATIONS -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said peace could not be won through United Nations resolutions and challenged  Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to "meet now."

“I extend my hand to the Palestinian people,” Netanyahu told the General Assembly after Abbas submitted a request for full U.N. membership for the Palestinians. “We’ve both just flown thousands of miles to New York.... We’re in the same building, so let’s meet today.”

Netanyahu mocked Abbas' claims that Palestinians had struggled with only their "hopes and dreams," saying "hopes, dreams -- and 10,000 missiles and Grad rockets supplied by Iran."

Making clear that he does not expect to win much support at the traditionally pro-Palestinian General Assembly, Netanyahu blasted the United Nations as a "theater of the absurd" and a place that "has for too long been a place of darkness for my people."

In contrast to Abbas' earlier appearance, the audience had dwindled, and there was silence through much of Netanyahu's remarks.


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Photo: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, speaks during the 66th annual United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday. Credit: Scott Eells / Bloomberg