Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly on Friday that he was reaching out to the Palestinian people but cautioned that peace could not be won with a UN resolution.
"I extend my hand to the Palestinian people," he told the 193-nation assembly, shortly after President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for full UN membership to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon despite Israeli and US objections.
"The truth is that Israel wants peace, the truth is that I want peace," he said, adding that "we cannot achieve peace through UN resolutions."
"The Palestinians should first make peace with Israel and then get their state," he said.
Netanyahu added that if there was such a peace, "Israel will not be the last state to welcome a Palestinian state into the United Nations. We will be the first."
It was also time for the Palestinians to acknowledge that "Israel is the Jewish state," he told the assembly.
He also made an appeal to Abbas for direct peace talks with the Palestinians to begin without delay in New York.
"Let’s meet here today in the United Nations," Netanyahu said.
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed a year ago. The Palestinians pulled out after Israel refused to extend a moratorium on new Jewish settlements in the West Bank.