Delivering remarks before the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed support for a "two-state solution" to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called for a so-called "two-state solution" to the conflict between Israel and Palestine in remarks before the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
Lapid told the gathering of world leaders in New York City that an agreement with Palestinians "based on two states for two peoples" is "the right thing for Israel's security, for Israel's economy and for the future of our children."
His comments Thursday marked the first time that an Israeli leader had addressed a two-state solution while speaking before the U.N. General Assembly since 2016.
"Despite all the obstacles, still today a large majority of Israelis support the vision of this two-state solution. I am one of them," he said.
Lapid said Israel was prepared to lift restrictions on the Gaza Strip under the condition that "a Palestinian state will be a peaceful one," referring to the exchange of missile fire between the two nations.
"I say here to the people of Gaza, we're ready to help you build a better life, to build an economy. We presented a comprehensive plan to help rebuild Gaza," he said. "We only have one condition: Stop firing rockets and missiles at our children. Put down your weapons, there will be no restrictions."
The prime minister also used his speech to warn of the nuclear threat posed by Iran.
Lapid said that if Iran is able to acquire a nuclear weapon "they will use it" while adding a "credible military threat" is the only way to prevent that outcome.
"It needs to be made clear to Iran, that if it advances its nuclear program, the world will not respond with words, but with military force," he said. "Every time a threat like that was put on the table in the past, Iran stopped and retreated."
During his address before the U.N. gathering Wednesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi his country is prepared to "resolve issues" to return to the 2015 nuclear deal limiting its ability to build a nuclear weapon but blamed the United States for delaying an agreement.
Lapid has urged Western nations to scrap their pending nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it a bad deal for the world and a violation of standards set by U.S. President Joe Biden.
"Today, the world is choosing the easy option. It chooses not to believe the worst, despite all the evidence to the contrary," Lapid said Thursday. "Israel does not have this privilege. This time we are not standing empty-handed against those who want to destroy us."
Egils Levits, president of Latvia
Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo