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Netanyahu at UN shows defiance at Jerusalem exhibit

3 min

United Nations (United States) (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday went to the United Nations to open an exhibit on Jerusalem, sending a message of defiance after the world body rejected US recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

The exhibit of artifacts on Jews in Jerusalem "represents the truth" about the city that "is being denied by those seeking to erase the history of our people," Netanyahu said.

"We are changing Israel's position in the world and above all, we are making it clear that we fight for the truth and our rights," he said.

The prime minister's remarks followed a vote in the General Assembly in December to reject US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and urge all countries to refrain from following the United States's lead and move their embassies to the city.

President Donald Trump's decision broke with the international consensus that the status of the Holy City is to be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The move infuriated the Palestinians, who see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and are now pushing for broader international mediation to replace the US-led peace process.

The exhibit set up in a UN hallway featured a sign posted by the United Nations stating that the content of the exhibit does not reflect the UN's view.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said this was standard practice for all exhibits at the United Nations.

After touring the exhibit, Netanyahu pointed to the UN disclaimer saying "of course it doesn't represent the United Nations. It represents the truth."

The prime minister earlier met with US Ambassador Nikki Haley, a strong supporter of Israel at the United Nations, and with US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin while in New York.

In Washington, he met with Trump and was cheered at a conference of the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby even as he faced corruption allegations at home.

Netanyahu said he spent most of the week talking about the threat from Iran and renewed his call to "either fully fix the Iran (nuclear) deal or fully nix it."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has strongly appealed for the 2015 landmark deal on curbing Iran's nuclear program to be salvaged and that concerns about Tehran's regional role be addressed separately.

Netanyahu is working to enlist allies in his anti-Iran campaign, saying there was a "newfound alliance in the Middle East between all those who recognize that the greatest threat we face is a nuclear Iran and an aggressive Iran."

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