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Netanyahu heads for Washington

Sept. 29, 2013 at 7:29 AM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will adopt the role of "spoilsport" when addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York, officials said.

Netanyahu departed Saturday night for a three-day visit to the United States where he will emphasize the need for Iran to be judged by its actions and not words, unnamed Israeli government officials told The Jerusalem Post.

In the aftermath of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to the United States and his telephone conversation with President Barack Obama, a more open attitude toward Iran has emerged, the officials said.

"We are aware that in this atmosphere we are swimming against the current," one of the officials said, adding Netanyahu is used to playing the spoilsport role and did so in the past when cautioning the West in the early days of the Arab Spring.

"Many people now realize that he was right when he advised caution and said the events could go either way," the official said.

Prior to leaving Israel, Netanyahu instructed his ministers to refrain from commenting on Iran or the Obama-Rouhani phone call, so as not to cause any embarrassment ahead of his scheduled meeting with Obama in the White House on Monday, the newspaper said.

"I will represent the citizens of Israel, our national interests, our rights as a people, our perseverance to defend ourselves and our hope for peace. I will tell the truth. In the face of the lip service, the smile attack, we need to state facts, to tell the truth... Telling the truth today is essential to the peace and security of the world," Netanyahu said before boarding the plane.

However, not everyone heeded to Netanyahu's call.

Chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Avigdor Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page Sunday that statements made by the Iranian president during his U.S. visit were "just another deceptive trick."

"With different tactics of playing for time and providing false information to the international community time after time, they have continued to advance toward the goal that they have set for themselves: obtaining a nuclear weapon meant to threaten the peace of the world."

Netanyahu will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in New York Sunday, fly to Washington to meet with Obama Monday and return Monday night to New York. He will speak before the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday.

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