JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the U.N. General Assembly on the same day that the Palestinian Authority presents its statehood bid to the Security Council.
The Palestinians will submit a bid for full membership in the Security Council of the United Nations on Sept. 23, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced Thursday. Netanyahu told a news conference Thursday with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas that he will address the issue of the statehood bid and the quest for peace in the region in his address Sept. 23.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas will make the Palestinians’ bid following his address to the General Assembly. Al-Malki said, however, that the Palestinians were still open to other offers.
The United States has said it will use its veto in the Security Council, after which the Palestinians are expected to seek an enhanced status short of statehood through the General Assembly, where the United States does not have a veto.
For weeks it has been unclear whether Netanyahu would travel to the opening meeting of the new U.N. session, during which the Palestinian statehood bid will likely take center stage.
"We have to speak the truth," Netanyahu said at the news conference. "The first truth is that to have peace, we must have mutual respect for other peoples. This is what we seek with our Palestinian neighbors. This is what we seek with all our neighbors.
"We also believe that the way to achieve this peace is through direct negotiations. There is no way to impose peace by dictat. "
Netanyahu said that while Israel does not get a fair hearing in the General Assembly, "I’ve decided to go there anyway — not to win applause, but to speak the truth to every nation that wants to hear the truth."