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News, May 2011
Netanyahu Speaks in US Congress, Invited by Israel-Firsters, in Opposition to US National Interests and President Barack Obama
May 24, 2011
Israeli Prime Minister Addresses CongressC-Span
Israeli P.M. Netanyahu Address to Congress
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Capitol Hill today meeting with members of Congress and delivered an address to a Joint Meeting of Congress.
During his speech to Congress P.M. Netanyahu stated, "As President Obama said, borders will be different than 1967. Israel will not return to 'indefensible' borders." He added "It's absolutely vital that a Palestinian state be demilitarized."
He suggested that Israel is "willing" to advance the negotiations but must "make painful compromises" for peace.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Netanyahu and Congressional Leaders also held a briefing with reporters following the joint meeting.
To members of AIPAC last night, Netanyahu said, "Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 line," which President Obama said is the foundation for negotiation.
A heckler briefly interrupted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress before U.S. Capitol police removed the protester from the chamber.
As Netanyahu was addressing a joint meeting of Congress, a woman in the gallery stood and shouted, "no more occupation, end Israeli war crimes."
Police immediately hustled her out of the gallery and Netanyahu continued speaking.
Netanyahu's speech to Congress shows America will buy anything
The man who explicitly said he would do his level best to destroy the Oslo Accords suddenly says he's in favor of peace with the Palestinians.
By Gideon Levy
Haaretz, Latest update 00:57 25.05.11
It was an address with no destination, filled with lies on top of lies and illusions heaped on illusions. Only rarely is a foreign head of state invited to speak before Congress. It's unlikely that any other has attempted to sell them such a pile of propaganda and prevarication, such hypocrisy and sanctimony as Benjamin Netanyahu did yesterday.
The fact that the Congress rose to its feet multiple times to applaud him says more about the ignorance of its members than the quality of their guest's speech. An Israeli presence on the Jordan River - cheering. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel - applause. Did American's elected representatives know that they were cheering for the death of possibility? If America loved it, we're in big trouble.
Sara Netanyahu, in green dress, clapping during husband Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, May 24, 2011.
Photo by: Reuters
The fact that the only truth spoken in the Capitol was that of a former Israeli shouting "equal rights for Palestinians" is a badge of honor for us and a mark of shame for America. Netanyahu's "speech of his life" was the speech of the death of peace.
It was a 1970s show. Maybe back then people still bought the piles of pretty, wise words shoveled by a peace-loving Israeli prime minister. How can an Israeli prime minister dare to say his country "fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely" without spitting out the entire bitter truth - as long as they aren't Palestinian. Suddenly Netanyahu marvels at the Arab Spring, but where was he when it began? He was on his standard scare campaign, warning of the dangers of an extremist Islamic regime and rushing to build a fence along our border with Egypt. And yesterday, suddenly, it's "the promise of a new dawn." Apparently there is no end to hypocrisy.
And how could he rain praise on Israeli democracy when his government has done more than its predecessors to deal the mortal blow to that democracy, to pass completely anti-democratic laws? How can he boast of the status of Israel's Arab citizens, while his right-wing, nationalistic coalition is passing racist laws against them? Saying that Israel's Arabs have more freedom in Israel than in any Arab state is like saying that blacks in American have more rights than those in Africa. So what? Does that mean that African-Americans had equal rights for generations, that they didn't have to fight for their rights?
And how dare he speak about freedom of worship in Jerusalem at a time when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been denied that freedom for years. Freedom of worship in Jerusalem is for Palestinians aged 35 and up, sometimes 45 and up; sometimes even 65 isn't old enough. And for the 2 million people of the Gaza Strip, there is no such freedom at all.
How can Netanyahu praise the peace with Egypt, when it's easy to guess he would have voted against it? The man who explicitly said he would do his level best to destroy the Oslo Accords suddenly says he's in favor of peace with the Palestinians.
Last night we saw that the Americans will buy anything, or at least their applauding legislators will.
Netanyahu to outline peace vision in speech to Congress
WASHINGTON | Tue May 24, 2011 9:11am EDT
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would set forth his view of a future Middle East peace in an address to Congress on Tuesday and reaffirmed Israel would never return to its old, narrow borders.
"I will outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace," the right-wing Israeli leader said on Monday about his planned address to a joint meeting of Congress.
"I intend to speak the unvarnished truth. Now more than ever what we need is clarity."
Addressing the annual policy conference of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group, Netanyahu appeared to keep alive a public dispute with President Barack Obama over the shape of a future Palestine.
"(A peace agreement) must leave Israel with security, and therefore Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 lines," he said, repeating a term he had used at a testy meeting with Obama at the White House on Friday.
Obama drew Israeli anger a day earlier when he said a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip should largely be drawn along lines that existed before the 1967 war in which Israel captured those areas and East Jerusalem.
On Sunday, Obama presented that blueprint in his own address to AIPAC on Sunday. But he seemed to ease Israeli anger somewhat when he made clear Israel would likely be able to negotiate keeping some settlements as part of a land swap in any final deal with the Palestinians.
Peace talks are frozen, largely over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Neither Obama nor Netanyahu have offered a concrete plan to try to revive them.
Netanyahu has a mostly sympathetic ear in Congress, where few lawmakers in either party speak up for the Palestinians, hewing to decades of close U.S.-Israeli ties.
"Support for Israel doesn't divide America, it unites America. It unites the old and the young, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans," Netanyahu told AIPAC.
"Netanyahu will most likely try to tone down any perceived differences between his position and the president's, because his disagreements with President Obama have become counterproductive for both and ultimately undermine Israel's own interests," said Haim Malka, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
But Republicans in Congress, including leaders in the House of Representatives, are not about to drop their criticism of the Democratic president's newly articulated Mideast vision.
House Republican Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that Obama's comments on Middle East borders left "most Americans ... just questioning what kind of strategy there is. It doesn't make sense to force a democratic ally of ours into negotiating with now a terrorist organization" about land swaps.
Cantor was referring to a unity deal last month between Western-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement and Hamas, an Islamist group viewed by the United States as a terrorist organization.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch's office says he will introduce a resolution saying that it is not U.S. policy to have Israel's borders return to the boundaries of 1967.
Speculation had been high in Israel that Netanyahu would offer new ideas on peacemaking to try to display flexibility and rally opposition to the Palestinians' plan to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state in September.
In his AIPAC address, Netanyahu reiterated his demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a step they fear could impinge on their claim of a right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced by the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Netanyahu first addressed a joint meeting of Congress in 1996 during his first term as prime minister.
While Obama won the Jewish vote overwhelmingly in 2008, some prominent Jewish Americans were rethinking their support for his re-election after this week's events.
Israeli leaders have long regarded AIPAC as a valuable advocacy group in the United States and have frequently attended its annual conventions.
Listing a membership of 100,000, the group has worked with Congress and the White House on securing foreign aid for Israel and legislation to strengthen what it describes as the vital U.S.-Israel relationship.
AIPAC's dominant voice in advocating for Israel has been challenged by J Street, a pro-Israel lobby founded in 2009.
J Street leaders have said the group provides a way for liberal American Jews critical of Israeli government policies to support the Jewish state.
Unlike AIPAC, the group supports President Obama's demand that Israel cease settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, while calling on the Palestinians to end incitement and violence.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
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