Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

From the podium of the General Assembly today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world of the grave threat he said it faced from militant Islam’s desire to dominate the planet, be they Sunni extremists or Iran, defended Israel’s Gaza campaign as moral, and dubbed the United Nations Human Rights Council the “terrorist rights council.”

At the same time he held out hope for peace in the Middle East from a “historic opportunity” as leading Arab States, after decades of seeing Israel as their enemy, increasingly recognize that both together face many of the same dangers, principally a nuclear-armed Iran and militant Islamist movements gaining ground in the Sunni world.

“Militant Islam’s ambition to dominate the world seems mad,” he told the Assembly as it entered the second week of its 69th annual high-level meeting. “But so too did the global ambitions of another fanatic ideology that swept to power eight decades ago.

“The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith. They just disagree about who among them will be the master … of the master faith. Therefore, the question before us is whether militant Islam will have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions. There is one place where that could soon happen: The Islamic State of Iran.”

Mr. Netanyahu quoted amply from statements by Iran’s leaders, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Hamas which he said showed their global aims, and he accused Iran of doubletalk and “manipulative charm offensive” in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

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“Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charm and all the smiles will suddenly disappear,” he said. “They’ll just vanish. It’s then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world. There is only one responsible course of action to address this threat: Iran’s nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled.”

Turning to Israel’s summer campaign against Hamas in Gaza in which some 2,300 people were reported killed, the majority civilians, Mr. Netanyahu stressed that Israel regretted every single civilian casualty, which it took pains to minimize with prior warnings, denounced Hamas for firing rockets from civilian areas and using civilians as human shields and decried the UN Human Rights Council for investigating Israel rather than Hamas for war crimes.

“The Human Rights Council is thus sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere:

Use civilians as human shields,” he declared. “Use them again and again and again. You know why? Because sadly, it works. By granting international legitimacy to the use of human shields, the UN’s Human Rights Council has thus become a Terrorist Rights Council, and it will have repercussions. It probably already has, about the use of civilians as human shields.”

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