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Israeli PM Bennett

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaking Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, to the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo: Screengrab from UN video)

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett Mentions Palestinians Exactly Zero Times During UN Address

Pretending they don't exist, said one advocacy group, "is how he justifies stealing their land, detaining their children, and bombing their homes."

Andrea Germanos

Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday gave his inaugural address to the United Nations General Assembly during which he made zero mention of Palestinians.

Journalist Dalia Hatuqa was among those who immediately noted how revealing the Israeli leader's decision was.

"I feel like many have underestimated Bennett's ability to make the Palestinians seem invisible," Hatuqa tweeted.

"Israelis don’t wake up in the morning thinking about the conflict" with its neighbors, said Bennett, later adding that the country "cannot lose sight for one moment of what's happening in our neighborhood." He did not reference Israel's ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine.

Bennett's omission of Palestinians also drew rebuke from the U.S-based progressive group IfNotNow.

Bennett "pretends Palestinians don't exist," the group tweeted, "which is how he justifies stealing their land, detaining their children, and bombing their homes."

While Israel has faced criticism from human rights advocates for its failure to provide Covid-19 vaccines to Palestinians in the occupied territories, Bennett touted his country's efforts to tackle the pandemic including the government's decision "to administer a third dose of [the] vaccine—the booster—to the Israeli public."

Bennet did make mention of Gaza, which he framed as not a victim of Israel's repeated bombing campaigns but as one of the territories where "Iran has spread its carnage."

Like his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bennett devoted considerable time building a case for attacking Iran, whom he accused of amassing "swarms of killer UAVs"—technology Israel itself has.

"All red lines have been crossed" with regards to Iran, said Bennett, accusing Iran of "violating the IAEA's safeguard agreements."

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