At UN, Netanyahu Reveals Secret Iranian Nuclear Facility, Hidden Missiles in Beirut

Israeli prime minister's speech comes one day after his rare remark that he would accept a Palestinian state under Israeli security control

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 27, 2018.
\ CARLO ALLEGRI/ REUTERS

NEW YORK  – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed a secret Iranian nuclear storage facility in Tehran and hidden missiles in Beirut during his address at the United Nations' General Assembly 73rd session on Thursday.

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The Israeli prime minister said the Iranian facility contains technology for Iran's nuclear program, adding that Iran "took this radioactive material and spread it around Tehran like Nutella."

Netanyahu said that Iran removed 15kg of radioactive material from the warehouse last month, and that it contained up to 300 tons of nuclear-related material. Netanyahu called on the IAEA to inspect the facility immediately.

"I have a message for tyrants of Tehran - Israel knows what you're doing," Netanyahu said. He added that Israel will continue to act against Iran - "also in Syria and also in Iraq."

"Hezbollah is using the innocent people of "Beirut as human shields," Netanyahu said, showing a picture of a missile site underneath a soccer stadium. "Israel also knows what you are doing."

"I listen to the protesters in Iran, I talk to the Iranian people [on videos posted on social media]. Iranians embrace Israel & criticize the regime," Netanyahu said.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession," Netanyahu said. "I have to admit the Iran deal had one positive outcome: It brought Israel closer than ever to many Arab countries."

Netanyahu took the stage moments after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the confab, in which the latter criticized Israel's "racist" nation-state law. Netanyahu responded to the criticism by stating that the Palestinian Authority kills those who sell land to Jews. "And you call Israel racist? The more they slay, the more you pay."

His speech comes a day after he held a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in New York, after which the premier made a rare remark in which he said he is "willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us."

Netanyahu's comment Wednesday was given during a press briefing to reporters in New York and was the first such overt expression of willingness to see a Palestinian state formed since the premier made his "Bar Ilan" foreign policy speech in 2009.

Netanyahu has refrained since then from clarifying his stance on a Palestinian state, but told Haaretz that "it is important to set what is inadmissible to us: Israel will not relinquish security control west of Jordan. This will not happen as long as I'm prime minister and I think the Americans understand that."

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Abbas' spokesperson slammed Netanyahu's comment on Thursday, rejecting the prime minister's endorsement of a Palestinian state over which Israel would have security control.

"We will only agree to an independent and sovereign Palestinian state at the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital," Nabil Abu Rudeineh stated.

Hours before Netanyahu's address it emerged that United Nations representatives, the United States, the European Union, Israel and the Palestinians have cultivated a special aid package for the Gaza Strip worth tens of millions of dollars.

The aid package – which was established ahead of a meeting in New York on Thursday of a committee of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) – will mainly focus on the reconstruction of Gaza's electricity and water infrastructures.

Negotiations surrounding the aid package were led over the past year by the UN's special Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, who has just received the green light from Israel and the Palestinians to go ahead with the initiative.

According to Israeli sources involved in the matter, the breakthrough was achieved when the Palestinian Authority agreed not to slap sanctions on Gaza if the aid package does indeed get passed on to the Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Prime addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York September 27, 2018.
AFP