PM off to New York – will meet Trump on Wednesday, address UN on Thursday


This will be the fifth time since Trump took office in January 2017 that Netanyahu will meet with the US president. They last met in Washington in March.

By Herb Keinon

Amid concern about a crisis with Russia over Syria’s downing of Russian spy plane that Moscow blamed on Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will leave Tuesday for New York where he will meet US President Donald Trump and address the UN General Assembly.

The crisis with Russia is expected to be one of the issues Netanyahu will discuss with Trump. When the US president met Russian President Vladimir Putin in July, Syria – and Israel’s concerns about Iranian military entrenchment there – was a significant part of the conversation.

This will be the fifth time since Trump took office in January 2017 that Netanyahu will meet with the US President Trump. They last met in Washington in March.

The meeting comes shortly before a second round of US economic sanctions are to kick in against Iran in November and as the US has taken a number of punitive measures against the Palestinians for failing to enter into peace negotiations and for boycotting US negotiators. The meeting also comes as Jerusalem is anticipating the eventual roll-out of the US administration’s long-awaited blueprint for Mideast peace.

Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Trump on the same day that the US president will take the rare move of chairing a session of the UN Security Council. The US currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, and the meeting is expected to focus to a large extent on Iran.

The Prime Minister’s Office has not released a list of what other leaders he will be meeting on the sidelines of the UN meeting.

Netanyahu, who will be addressing the UN General Assembly for the ninth time since taking office for a second time in 2009 — the only year he skipped was 2010  — is scheduled to speak on Thursday, the last day of the General Assembly’s annual General Debate that brings to New York leaders from all around the world.

He is scheduled to speak shortly after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in an address expected to focus on Iran, its aggressive behavior in the region and attempts to entrench itself in Syria. In addition, he will likely respond to at least some of the accusations Abbas is sure to level at Israel during his speech.

Netanyahu, according to sources close to him, considers these speeches to the UN as extremely important, and devotes a good deal of time to preparing them.

Last year’s speech was noted for the phrase he coined regarding the Iranian nuclear accord: “fix it or nix it.” In previous years he has used props to get his point across, such as a cartoonish picture of a bomb in 2012 to show where Israel’s red line was regarding Iran’s nuclearization, and his brandishing original plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 2009 to push back against then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial.

And in 2015, Netanyahu used a 44-second pause to ram home his point of the world’s silence in the face of Iran’s threats to Israel’s existence.

Netanyahu is scheduled to fly home Saturday night, arriving just before the onset of Simchat Torah. He has timed his arrival in New York on Tuesday night to come after the end of the second day of Sukkot there, which is a holy day for Jews living in the Diaspora.



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