NY Gov. Cuomo meets Netanyahu
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AFP
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference at his Jerusalem offices, August 6, 2014. Photo by AFP
AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo by AP
AP
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin shakes hands with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during their meeting at the President's residence in Jerusalem, Aug. 13, 2014. Photo by AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked the United Nation’s committee of inquiry into Operation Protective Edge in Gaza on Wednesday, at the end of his meeting with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is in Israel for an official visit.

“The UN Human Rights Council gives legitimacy to murderous terror organizations like Hamas and the Islamic State. Instead of checking Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians and the use it makes of Gaza's residents as human shields, instead of checking the massacre carried out by (President) Assad in Syria, or the massacre of Kurds by Islamic State members, the UN has decided to come and check Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East, a democracy that is acting in a legitimate manner to protect its citizens from murderous terror,” he said.

“The committee's report has already been written, the head of the committee has already decided that Hamas is not a terror organization and so there is nothing for them to investigate there. First, they should visit Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli, they should go to see the Islamic State, they should go to see the Syrian army, they should go and see Hamas. There, not here, they will find war crimes.”

Netanyahu's speech followed his meeting with Governor Cuomo, who had arrived in Israel for a whirlwind visit in solidarity the Jewish fight amid its fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu thanked Cuomo at their meeting for “standing on the right side of the moral divide” between Israel and Hamas. Cuomo, in his first international trip as governor, said, “We wish you peace.”

In addition to meeting Netanyahu during his 30-hour visit to Israel, the Democrat, who is running for re-election this year and considered a likely contender for president in 2016, met with President Reuven Rivlin.

According to the Wall Street Journal, he was also slated to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Western Wall in Jerusalem, and meet New Yorkers studying in Israel at a pizzeria, before flying back to the United States on Thursday.

Traveling with Cuomo in a bipartisan delegation showing support for Israel in the wake of its month-long conflict in Gaza are Senate Majority Leader Jeff Klein, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Also in the delegation are Mortimer Zuckerman, the Executive Chair of Boston Properties, publisher of the Daily News and the Chairman of the U.S. News and World Report, Kenneth Cole, CEO of Kenneth Cole Productions, Neil Cole, President of Iconix Brand Group, and Howard Maier, Chairman Emeritus of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.

The delegation received an invitation from the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations on Tuesday to meet with Palestinians on the trip, but Cuomo declined, saying that he hadn’t seen the invitation, but that the visit was "scheduled literally to the minute." However, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, one of the group, said he “would have no desire at this time to go to Gaza and to give any credibility whatsoever to Hamas.”

Before boarding the plane in New York on Tuesday, Cuomo told reporters: "Our message is simple and is clear. We stand with Israel and we support Israel's right to defend itself in this conflict,” adding that, “The delegation represents the entire State government.”

The governor emphasized the “deep cultural, social, political and personal relationships that we have with the State of Israel. New York has 1.7 million Jewish people – more than any other place on the globe besides Israel.” He added that, As New Yorkers, we know first hand the pain and the fear caused by those who spread terror. Life in New York was forever changed by 9/11. Everyone wants the killing to stop so there is no death. But at the same time, Israel must have the right to defend itself. That is the message that we will convey.”