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9/23/2016 Netanyahu and Abbas two very different speeches - History

9/23/2016 Netanyahu and Abbas two very different speeches - History

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Speeches made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, on Thursday at the United Nations, sum up the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations – Led by Abbas, the Palestinians are too weak to make peace and Israel is too strong to need to make any concessions to reach peace. Netanyahu proudly stated:

“Today, Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That's nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel's ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day... Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.

Many also seek to benefit from Israel's ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.”

That was the tone of much of Netanyahu's generally uplifting address; in contrast, to Abbas who said:

“Here, I must once again appeal to you to provide international protection for the Palestinian people, suffering under occupation since 1967 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. If you do not ensure for us protection, then who will?

Abbas later set off on a strange, but telling, tangent:

“By the end of this coming year, 100 years will have passed since the Balfour Declaration, 70 years since Al-Nakba of the Palestinian people, and 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Yes, 100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people. This paved the road for the Nakba of Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land. As if this were not enough, the British Mandate interpreted this Declaration into policies and measures that contributed to the perpetration of the most heinous crimes against a peaceful people in their own land, a people that never attacked anyone or partook in a war against anyone.”

Leaving aside the various historic inaccuracies of Abbas' statement, its preoccupation with historic grievances, acutely reflects the Palestinian mindset and explains why this conflict seems so unsolvable.

Last night, at dinner, a friend who just came back from the Balkans related a sorrowful story about children who cannot safely go to school, because their relative killed relatives of a rival clan, three generations ago. This dismal anecdote reminded me of the Palestinians, who are unable to make the concessions that might lead to peace, since they continue to be overwhelmed by perceived historic transgressions perpetrated upon them – which has been the case throughout the conflict. The first Arab-Israeli war took place, because the Arabs/Palestinians obsessed about their perceived rights. They were not willing, or able to accept reality. They did not accept the partition, or a Jewish state in part of Palestine.

As a result, Israel won the war and Jordan annexed the West Bank. This remains the story today – Israel is a strong Western country, whose economy is among the strongest in the West; while Palestinians have an impoverished proto-state in Gaza that lives off of aid; and a series of cantons in the West Bank, where Palestinians maintain limited sovereignty. Abbas is an 81-year-old leader, without electoral legitimacy; Netanyahu has been elected four times and heads a strong coalition of people, who mostly share his ideological views.

This is not to say that Israel or Netanyahu are blameless. There can be no doubt that Israel’s policy of establishing settlements throughout the West Bank has made reaching a peace agreement more difficult – and the existence of Jewish settlements that need to be defended close to Palestinian population centers have made Palestinian life more onerous.

Netanyahu’s speech did include one new element (in addition to its optimistic positivity). Netanyahu called on Abbas to stop speaking over the heads of the Israeli people and come to Jerusalem to speak at the Knesset. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt understood the psychology of the Israeli people. When Sadat came to Israel and addressed the Knesset, boldly declaring: “NO More War,” he effectively ended Israeli-Egypt wars. It took time to negotiate the details, but after that speech, Israelis were willing to withdraw from every inch of the Sinai in return for peace.

If Abbas accepts Netanyahu’s challenge and delivers a speech proclaiming – We end our state of war with Israel, accept the 1947 Partition Plan with modified borders, and will agree to monetary compensation settlement for the refugees – the conflict would end. There would be those on the Israeli side who would do their best to stop any withdrawal, (believing that God gave this land to Israel and it is therefore a sin to withdraw from any of it.) However, today, Israelis who hold that ideology are still in the minority. In five or ten years, who knows what the situation will be.

That being said, when Sadat delivered his famous speech, he was the leader of the largest Arab state, and was perceived to have fought Israel to a standstill in the 1973 War. He had the gravitas and personal stature to end the conflict, singlehandedly. Abbas, who has never had the standing that Arafat enjoyed, is not in a position to give such a speech – even if he wanted to do so. So, for now, it appears Israelis and the Palestinians are destined to continue their tortured relationship.

This is a tragedy for both sides, but more so, for the Palestinians. The Palestinians are, by far, the weaker party. They have watched their one strength (i.e., international support) slip away, as the world worries about more pressing problems – and Israel, like Netanyahu stated, is an essential ally in the fight to combat those catastrophes.

For Israel, the tragedy is more subtle but no less potent. Fifty years of unintended occupation have damaged Israeli society. However, after withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza, only to see barrages of missiles repeatedly fired at Israeli population centers, most Israelis prefer the damage done by the occupation to the danger any further withdrawal might bring.

The world has moved on from the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The world can not solve the conflict for these two parties – which means only Israelis and Palestinians can accomplish that. Regrettably, neither side is ready.

Obama Netanyahu 09/30/2013

Netanyahu accuses Abbas of spreading ‘blood libel’ in EU speech that earns standing ovation

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of spreading a blood libel in his address Thursday to the European Parliament in Brussels.

In the speech, which earned a standing ovation from parliament representatives, Abbas alleged that Israeli rabbis called this week for the poisoning of Palestinian water, a report for which he provided no citation and which echoes medieval anti-Semitic libels.

“The Israelis are doing this as well … certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed,” he said.

He also blamed global terror on Israel’s control of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

U.S. Jewish groups also decried his remarks.

Abbas may have been referring to a recent report in the state-run Turkish press agency Anadolu, credited to a Palestinian reporter in Ramallah, which claimed that a West Bank rabbi issued an “advisory opinion” allowing Jewish settlers to poison Palestinian water. Neither the rabbi in the story nor the organization he is described as representing appears to exist.

Earlier the same day, Abbas refused a meeting with Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, that the parliament’s president had offered to arrange while Abbas and Rivlin were in Brussels.

“Someone who refuses to meet with the president and Prime Minister Netanyahu for direct talks, who propagates a blood libel in the European Parliament, is lying when he says his hand is outstretched in peace,” said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Israel awaits the day when Abu Mazen stops spreading lies and dealing in incitement. Until then, Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement, which motivates terror attacks.”

Abu Mazen is an alternative honorific name for Abbas, who asserted in his speech: “Once the occupation ends, terrorism will disappear, there will be no more terrorism in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris called Abbas the “great disappointer” in a statement condemning the PA leader’s remarks.

“Instead of returning to direct peace talks with Israel, Abbas abused an international platform to deliver yet another tirade full of invectives and falsehoods against Israel,” Harris said.

“Abbas’s malicious attack contradicts any attempt he made to verbally offer a hand for peace. Indeed, Abbas demonstrably held back his hand both by his remarks, and by rejecting an E.U. request that he meet with President Rivlin.

Harris also described as “absurd” Abbas’ declaration that global terrorism will disappear “once the occupation ends.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement that Abbas “interspersed claims of an interest in reconciliation with Israel with base allegations against the Jewish state, which are reminiscent of age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes.”

“ Unfortunately, conspiratorial incitement by the Palestinian Authority is not new. His charges of an Israeli effort to poison Palestinian water, and claims of Israel serving as the root of terrorism worldwide, are particularly disturbing and significant,” the ADL statement said.

Noting the standing ovation, Greenblatt added: “How can Israel see Europe as an honest broker when its elected officials applaud a speech laden with lies and mischaracterizations?”

The European Jewish Congress called on European leaders to condemn the speech.

“It is unconscionable that a foreign leader proudly states a blood libel in the European Parliament and he receives a standing ovation,” said Dr. Moshe Kantor, the EJC’s president. “If a far-right politician would have made similar comments, they would have been correctly discredited, but Abbas is feted like a hero and this double standard allows him to evade scrutiny in the international arena and the negotiations table.

“In one short speech, Abbas reminded the world that he has no interest in peace, continues to incite against Jews and Israel, and uses the understandable fear of terrorism to rail against Israel and score political points. The only question that remains is about the reaction of the international community to such a malicious and malevolent speech.”

Abbas refused a meeting with Rivlin that Martin Schultz, the parliament’s president, had offered to arrange and mediate. Rivlin said he welcomed the meeting and “was very sorry” to hear of Abbas’ rejection.

9/23/2016 Netanyahu and Abbas two very different speeches - History

Precisely because he has a colder view of international affairs than Obama, Netanyahu’s leadership has made Israel stronger than ever.

P eter Baker notices something important in his dispatch this morning: at this year’s UNGA, the Israel/Palestine issue is no longer the center of attention. From The New York Times:

They took the stage, one after the other, two aging actors in a long-running drama that has begun to lose its audience. As the Israeli and Palestinian leaders recited their lines in the grand hall of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, many in the orchestra seats recognized the script.

“Heinous crimes,” charged Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. “Historic catastrophe.”

“Fanaticism,” countered Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. “Inhumanity.”

Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu have been at this for so long that between them they have addressed the world body 19 times, every year cajoling, lecturing, warning and guilt-tripping the international community into seeing their side of the bloody struggle between their two peoples. Their speeches are filled with grievance and bristling with resentment, as they summon the ghosts of history from hundreds and even thousands of years ago to make their case.

While each year finds some new twist, often nuanced, sometimes incendiary, the argument has been running long enough that the world has begun to move on. Where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once dominated the annual meeting of the United Nations, this year it has become a side show as Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas compete for attention against seemingly more urgent crises like the civil war in Syria and the threat from the Islamic State.

Baker (and presumably many of his readers) don’t go on to the next, obvious question: What does this tell us about the relative success or failure of the leaders involved? The piece presents both Netanyahu and Abbas as irrelevant. They used to command the world stage, but now nobody is interested in their interminable quarrel.

What the piece doesn’t say is that this situation is exactly what Israel wants, and is a terrible defeat for the Palestinians. Abbas is the one whose strategy depends on keeping the Palestinian issue front and center in world politics Bibi wants the issue to fade quietly away. What we saw at the UN this week is that however much Abbas and the Palestinians’ many sympathizers might protest, events are moving in Bibi’s direction.

There is perhaps only one thing harder for the American mind to process than the fact that President Obama has been a terrible foreign policy president, and that is that Bibi Netanyahu is an extraordinarily successful Israeli Prime Minister. In Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, Israel’s diplomacy is moving from strength to strength. Virtually every Arab and Middle Eastern leader thinks that Bibi is smarter and stronger than President Obama, and as American prestige across the Middle East has waned under Obama, Israel’s prestige — even among people who hate it — has grown. Bibi’s reset with Russia, unlike Obama’s, actually worked. His pivot to Asia has been more successful than Obama’s. He has had far more success building bridges to Sunni Muslims than President Obama, and both Russia and Iran take Bibi and his red lines much more seriously than they take Obama’s expostulations and pious hopes.

The reason that Bibi has been more successful than Obama is that Bibi understands how the world works better than Obama does. Bibi believes that in the harsh world of international politics, power wisely used matters more than good intentions eloquently phrased. Obama sought to build bridges to Sunni Muslims by making eloquent speeches in Cairo and Istanbul while ignoring the power political realities that Sunni states cared most about — like the rise of Iran and the Sunni cause in Syria. Bibi read the Sunnis more clearly than Obama did the value of Israeli power to a Sunni world worried about Iran has led to something close to a revolution in Israel’s regional position. Again, Obama thought that reaching out to the Muslim Brotherhood (including its Palestinian affiliate, Hamas) would help American diplomacy and Middle Eastern democracy. Bibi understood that Sunni states like Egypt and its Saudi allies wanted Hamas crushed. Thus, as Obama tried to end the Gaza war on terms acceptable to Hamas and its allies, Bibi enjoyed the backing of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia in a successful effort to block Obama’s efforts. Israel’s neighbors may not like Bibi, but they believe they can count on him. They may think Obama has some beautiful ideas that he cares deeply about, but they think he’s erratic, unreliable, and doesn’t understand either them or their concerns.

Obama is an aspiring realist who wanted to work with undemocratic leaders on practical agreements. But Obama, despite the immense power of the country he leads, has been unable to gain the necessary respect from leaders like Putin and Xi that would permit the pragmatic relationships he wanted to build. Bibi is a practicing realist who has succeeded where Obama failed. Bibi has a practical relationship with Putin they work together where their interests permit and where their interests clash, Putin respects Bibi’s red lines. Obama’s pivot to Asia brought the US closer to India and Japan, but has opened a deep and dangerous divide with China. Under Bibi’s leadership, Israel has stronger, deeper relationships with India, China and Japan than at any time in the past, and Asia may well replace Europe as Israel’s primary trade and investment partners as these relationships develop.

The marginalization of Abbas at the UN doesn’t just reflect the world’s preoccupation with bigger crises in the neighborhood. It reflects a global perception that a) the Sunni Arab states overall are less powerful than they used to be and that b) partly as a result of their deteriorating situation, the Sunni Arab states care less about the Palestinian issue than they used to. This is why African countries that used to shun Israel as a result of Arab pressure are now happy to engage with Israel on a variety of economic and defense issues. India used to avoid Israel in part out of fear that its own Kashmir problem would be ‘Palestinianized’ into a major problem with its Arab neighbors and the third world. Even Japan and China were cautious about embracing Israel too publicly given the power of the Arab world and its importance both in the world of energy markets and in the nonaligned movement. No longer.

Inevitably, all these developments undercut the salience of the Palestinian issue for world politics and even for Arab politics and they strengthen Israel’s position in the region and beyond. Obama has never really grasped this Netanyahu has based his strategy on it. Ironically, much of the decline in Arab power is due to developments in the United States. Fracking has changed OPEC’s dynamics, and Obama’s tilt toward Iran has accelerated the crisis of Sunni Arab power. Netanyahu understands the impact of Obama’s country and Obama’s policy on the Middle East better than Obama does. Bibi, like a number of other leaders around the world, has been able to make significant international gains by exploiting the gaps in President Obama’s understanding of the world and in analyzing ways to profit from the unintended consequences and side effects of Obama policies that didn’t work out as Obama hoped.

Bibi’s successes will not and cannot make Israel’s problems and challenges go away. And finding a workable solution to the Palestinian question remains something that Israel cannot ignore on both practical and moral grounds. But Israel is in a stronger global position today than it was when Bibi took office nobody can say that with a straight face about the nation that President Obama leads. When and if American liberals understand the causes both of Bibi’s successes and of Obama’s setbacks, then perhaps a new and smarter era of American foreign policy debate can begin.

Trump and Netanyahu 2016 AIPAC Speeches Were Precursors to 2020 Israeli-Arab Peace Deals

Abraham Accords: The 2016 speeches by the two leaders presented a vision that has largely been realized during Trump’s term in office.

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The peace deals – the Abraham Accords – reached between Israel and various Arab and Muslim nations in recent months seemed unthinkable five years ago, or, frankly, even five months ago.

For too long Arab and Muslim enmity toward Israel was tolerated, if not encouraged, in the diplomatic world. There seemed to be no impetus to change the status quo.

Earlier this week, writing in Newsweek, Seth Frantzmann marveled at the changes and noted that Israel’s isolation was accepted for too long:

Acceptance of the isolation of Israel and erasure of Jewish history in the Middle East has been an open wound afflicting the whole region. It should never have happened. Israel and some Arab countries fought a war in 1948, and there are legitimate reasons that Palestinians and their supporters opposed Israel’s policies. But similar terrible wars, such as that between India and Pakistan in 1948, didn’t result in dozens of countries not recognizing India or pretending that Hindus don’t exist. Normalization and the presence diplomatic relations are the most basic geopolitical norms throughout the world. Yet so many politicians, like former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who pushed for engagement with Iran, blindly accepted the fact that so many countries did not normalize ties with Israel.

Maybe Israel’s normalization with a number of its neighbors couldn’t have been predicted. But it was consistent the visions of two men going back to March 2016, when they both addressed the AIPAC policy conference. Those men are Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump, at the time, was a celebrity businessman on his way to capturing the Republican nomination for president. Netanyahu was in his seventh year and third consecutive term in his second stint as Israel’s prime minister. It was a year since Netanyahu had spoken in front of Congress in opposition to the nuclear deal that was then being negotiated.

There were different parts of the speeches that grabbed my attention at the time. But rereading them now, and the benefit of nearly five years of history in retrospect, Trump and Netanyahu had complementary visions. Maybe they did not foresee Israel’s normalization that would actually take place, but they clearly recognized that the conditions existed or could be created to realize that goal.

The part of Trump’s speech that grabbed my attention was this:

When you live in a society where the firefighters are the heroes, little kids want to be firefighters. When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are the heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars.

In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can’t let this continue. We can’t let this happen any longer.

You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace.

Rather than giving primacy to Palestinian complaints about injustice, Trump said that they had to show that they were ready for peace. This wasn’t just a rhetorical point, this was a policy that he pursued.

Critics of Trump’s Middle East policy say that he sidelined the Palestinians. In truth, he urged them to buy into his plan. He also demanded that they stop incentivizing terror. On both counts, they refused.

Trump also promised to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem. It was a promise he kept.

In his speech, the candidate also succinctly reviewed the Palestinian refusal to make peace during the previous sixteen years and ended that history with, “When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one.” That was a notable reversal from President Obama’s reported promise to put more “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.

More generally, Trump condemned the United Nations, saying the that UN is not a friend of democracy, freedom, or the United States and “it surely is not a friend to Israel.” He also criticized the idea of getting the UN to impose a solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Rather he called for making a deal between the two parties. Trump also trashed the nuclear deal with Iran.

But what’s important is that Trump unapologetically defended Israel. Part of the reason the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco have made agreements with Israel is because they saw that the US fully supported Israel.

Netanyahu’s speech similarly covered a lot of ground, and it was much less contentious. Even as he recalled his differences with the Obama administration, Netanyahu reiterated the strong alliance with the U.S. and support Israel got from the administration. But the part of it that really stood out for me was this:

First, the positive trend: Every day high-level delegations land at Ben-Gurion Airport. They come from America. They come from Europe.Increasingly they come from Asia, from Africa, from Latin America. As many of them confront the rise of militant Islam and its accompanying terrorism, they come to Israel to strengthen their security. They wish to learn from Israel’s proven security and intelligence capabilities how to better protect their own people.

But they also come to Israel because they want to upgrade their economies with Israel’s technology. And for good reason: Israel’s know-how is powering the world’s computers, navigating its cars, protecting its bank accounts. It’s led to breakthroughs in treating Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. It helps farmers around the world yield more crops, produce more milk, conserve more water.So, for all these reasons, the world is coming to Israel. Today we have diplomatic relations with 161 countries – more than at any time in our history. And by the way, there are not that many countries left. There are only about 200 countries in the world.

I was aware of what Netanyahu was talking about but I didn’t share his optimism about the future. But even if I had doubts at the time, this was when Israel was making diplomatic inroads into Africa, and soon Netanyahu’s boast that Israel was well on its way to achieving diplomatic relations with the rest of the world didn’t seem so brash.

We may not know all the factors that led to the deals. I believe that no small part of it was the shared Iranian threat. Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad, the spy agency that uncovered Iran’s nuclear archive, was one of the key figures involved in the diplomacy. However, Haviv Rettig Gur of the Times of Israel argued recently that it was more than Iran: the UAE and the other nations that made peace with Israel, want to learn what has made Israel a success.

Regardless, when something historic happens, it happens because opportunities are made or exist and that the actors who make it happen, realize it. I don’t know if either Trump or Netanyahu had any inkling of the deals Israel would make over the next four and a half years, but they both – in different ways – showed an understanding that the possibility for Israel to be more accepted diplomatically was there. But those deals likely would not have happened without them.

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Sure, it’s easier and more natural to exit with a smile when your briefcase doesn’t contain an illustration of a nuclear bomb with a fuse, or aerial photographs of death camps, or images of a Qassam rocket hidden in a Gazan kindergarten.

Yet for someone who in previous years seemed to have fallen in love with the role of wrathful prophet, whistle-blower and bearer of bad tidings, the change was most definitely refreshing. From sworn pessimist and chronic seer of darkness, he became a tireless optimist — so much so that he got carried away and compared himself to former President Shimon Peres.

Netanyahu went so far as to open his speech with an optimistic message about better days ahead — rosy and heartwarming — for Israel in the hostile diplomatic arena, which has never treated it fairly. These passages were imbued too heavily with expressions of misery, victimhood and self-pity. This style reached its apogee when the speaker expressed his somewhat fake surprise at the applause that interrupted him: “Sustained applause for the prime minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought,” he grumbled charmingly.

The charges he leveled against the UN — about the conduct of some of its organizations — was certainly appropriate. He gave them an education lesson. And the Israelis back home loved to hear it. His attack on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who spoke shortly before him, was perhaps the most justified: Abbas’ demand that Britain immediately apologize for the Balfour Declaration, which promised the Jewish people a state, was deluded and ridiculous. The response he suffered from Netanyahu, who proposed that he file a class action lawsuit against Abraham, was a bullseye.

It is almost superfluous to say that the speech was excellent, that Netanyahu is an excellent public speaker, that the words flowed from his lips like dew drops from a cold bottle of beer.

The performance repeats itself every year, but there is never any substance. On Thursday, Netanyahu pulled another rabbit out of the hat when he turned directly to Abbas and invited him to speak to the Knesset in Jerusalem, and proposed that he himself address the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.

A nice PR stunt — whose chances of happening are, of course, almost zero. Netanyahu announced that Israel welcomes “the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative” (most likely the part that speaks of peace with all Arab nations), and spoke enthusiastically about deep changes in the attitude of Arab nations toward Israel. He called on the UN to come to its senses and act like them, understand that Israel is not the enemy but a partner in the fight against militant Islam and the Iranian insanity.

The blame game between Israeli and Palestinian leaders has been the norm at these UN speeches over the past seven years, the Netanyahu-Abbas era. It is exhausting, depressing and frustrating — except for those Israelis who are encouraged by the fact that, even at the end of this round of speeches, an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians has not shifted even an millimeter closer, and the risk of further conflict didn’t move an inch, either.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama meet in New York, September 21, 2016. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Netanyahu Ready to Go to Paris ‘Tomorrow’ for Direct 2-State Talks with Abbas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with his French counterpart Manuel Valls in Jerusalem, and the two issued a joint statement dealing with the common goals of Israel and France as well as the solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict which would include two states for two peoples.

“Although we disagree as to the best way to reach peace, I appreciate your commitment to seek peace,” Netanyahu told Valls. “I know how important it is for you to bring an end to the terrible violence that has been taking place in our region for too long, and I wish to thank you and President Hollande for your commitment to peace.”

Referring to the French peace initiative which is expected to take place in Paris in a week and a half without direct involvement of the two sides in the conflict, Netanyahu insisted that the only way to reach peace is through direct negotiations with the PA Arabs. “In a direct negotiation the Palestinian leadership would be forced to face a clear choice, and the choice is simple — recognize the Jewish State or continue to educate their people that some day Israel will disappear,” Netanyahu said. “And I urge you not to allow the Palestinian leadership to evade this tough choice.”

Netanyahu told Valls that he would be ready to embrace a French initiative if it would include direct negotiations between himself and the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. “Every problematic issue will be on the negotiating table — mutual recognition, incitement, borders, refugee, as well as the settlements,” Netanyahu promised. “I’m ready to clear my schedule and fly to Paris tomorrow. Actually, I believe tomorrow we’re expanding the government, but the day after. And this is an open-ended offer. I’ll clear my agenda. And I hope you and the Palestinians will agree.”

Netanyahu also addressed the French vote last month at UNESCO, in favor of a resolution that referred to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall by their Arab names only and rejected any Jewish “claim” on the history of the holy sites. He congratulated Valls on his apology over the matter and his admission that it had been a mistake.

Prime Minister Valls promised to pass Netanyahu’s offer regarding the peace negotiations to President Hollande. “We are in favor of anything that would contribute to the peace,” Valls said. “We can discuss it, and we will make all the necessary clarifications. The discussion, I’m certain, will be most direct. But don’t doubt for one minute our will to do whatever is possible for peace, our commitment and my personal commitment in the fight against anti-Semitism, and the complete and unequivocal certainty that the Jewish roots of Jerusalem are completely indisputable.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, 22 March 2006), delivered the following speech (via satellite feed) to the AIPAC Policy Conference:

“Good morning, America. Good morning, AIPAC.And a special good morning to the 4,000 students who are cutting class today to be with AIPAC in Washington. Greetings to all of you from Jerusalem.

I first want to send my condolences to the families of those murdered in today’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks in Israel – this is one continuous assault on all of us. In all these cases the terrorists have no resolvable grievances. It’s not as if we could offer them Brussels, or Istanbul, or California, or even the West Bank. That won’t satisfy their grievances. Because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination. Their basic demand is that we should simply disappear. Well, my friends, that’s not going to happen. The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together. That’s how we’ll defeat terrorism – with political unity and with moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance.

And I want to thank today the leadership of AIPAC and each and every one of you. I thank you for the tremendous support you’ve provided Israel over so many years. I thank you for the clear and unequivocal stand you took last year during the nuclear Iran deal debate, a debate critical for Israel’s security.And that debate, though intense, did not undermine the unbreakable alliance between Israel and the United States.

As part of that great alliance, America has generously provided Israel with many of the tools we need to defend ourselves.We are now working on a new agreement to help bolster Israel’s security in the years to come. I hope we can conclude that agreement soon. And I take this opportunity once again to thank President Obama for his support, including for ballistic missile defense. Israel deeply appreciates it, and we also deeply appreciate the strong bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and the strong, overwhelming support for Israel among the American people. Year after year, the overwhelming majority of Americans stand with Israel. They know something profound, that stands out for all to see today. They know that Israel is an island of liberty and democracy, that Israel must never be an issue that divides Americans, but a great cause of liberty that unites Americans.

My friends ,two weeks ago, I visited Yodfat in northern Israel .It was there, 2,000 years ago, that the Romans began their military campaign against the Jews. I’m holding in my hand right now an exact replica of an arrow found at Yodfat – one of thousands used by the Romans in their war to crush Jewish independence.Yet two millennia later, the Jewish people are once again free and sovereign in our ancient homeland. And in rebuilding our land, our state, our economy, our army, our science, our culture, we’ve achieved remarkable successes. But it’s true we also face great challenges. We are in fact today witnessing two contradictory trends.

First, the positive trend: Every day high-level delegations land at Ben-Gurion Airport. They come from America. They come from Europe.Increasingly they come from Asia, from Africa, from Latin America. As many of them confront the rise of militant Islam and its accompanying terrorism, they come to Israel to strengthen their security. They wish to learn from Israel’s proven security and intelligence capabilities how to better protect their own people.

But they also come to Israel because they want to upgrade their economies with Israel’s technology. And for good reason: Israel’s know-how is powering the world’s computers, navigating its cars, protecting its bank accounts. It’s led to breakthroughs in treating Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. It helps farmers around the world yield more crops, produce more milk, conserve more water.So, for all these reasons, the world is coming to Israel. Today we have diplomatic relations with 161 countries – more than at any time in our history. And by the way, there are not that many countries left. There are only about 200 countries in the world.

But alongside this positive trend, there is a second, negative trend. While Israel is embraced by a growing number of individual nations, there are those who seek to malign Israel among the nations, and especially in the United Nations. At the UN, Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy, is slandered like no other country on earth. At the UN, Israel is subjected to consistent, systematic discrimination. Only Israel is permanently scheduled for condemnation at the UN Human Rights Council – not Iran, not Syria, not North Korea. Only Israel is hounded by UN bodies expressly established to delegitimize its very existence. Only Israel is condemned every year by 20 hostile resolutions in the UN General Assembly. The UN, my friends, has a shameful record of singling out Israel for castigation and condemnation. So I have a question for you. Why would anyone think that the UN could decide on a fair and secure peace for Israel?

Yet amazingly, there are some who believe exactly that. They seek to impose terms on Israel in the UN Security Council. And those terms would undoubtedly be stacked against us. They always are. So such an effort in the UN would only convince the Palestinians that they can stab their way to a state.Mind you, not a state next to Israel, but a state instead of Israel. A Security Council resolution to pressure Israel would further harden Palestinian positions, and thereby it could actually kill the chances of peace for many, many years. And that is why I hope the United States will maintain its longstanding position to reject such a UN resolution.

I was glad to hear the presidential candidates from both parties reaffirm this basic principle. Peace won’t come through UN Security Council resolutions, but through direct negotiations between the parties.

The best formula for achieving peace remains two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state finally recognizes the Jewish state.Now, I know there’s some skepticism about my views on this. So let me state unequivocally, and here’s the acid test: I am ready to begin such negotiations immediately, without preconditions, anytime, anywhere. That’s a fact. But President Abbas is not ready to do so. That’s also a fact. There is political will here in Jerusalem. There’s no political will there in Ramallah.

For the last five-and-a-half years, President Abbas has refused to sit down and talk with me even for a minute.But that doesn’t mean he’s been silent. He has helped inculcate a new generation of young Palestinians with murderous hatred for Israel.And my friends, this incitement has deadly consequences. Palestinian children are taught to stab Jews. They are taught that the goal of the Palestinian people is not to establish a state on the West Bank, but in all of Israel – in Akko, Haifa, Nazareth, Jaffa.

Now, what I’m about to show you is deeply disturbing. I think you have to see for yourselves what the Palestinians are teaching their children. I want you to see the daily Pledge of Allegiance of Palestinian children. Take a look.

This is sick. It’s inexcusable. My friends, that little girl wasn’t born hating. She was taught to hate, as were the Palestinians who murdered the American student Taylor Force, and other American citizens in recent months. You’ve already heard what an impressive young man Taylor was, but President Abbas’s Fatah movement praised Taylor’s killer as – and I quote this – as “a hero and a martyr”. Now, that’s not from Hamas that’s coming from Abbas. And now the Palestinians will spur even more terrorism by rewarding the families of murderers – including those who murdered Americans – with a regular monthly payment.

So the message they send to Palestinians is clear: terrorism pays – literally.

If the international community really wants to advance peace, it must demand that the Palestinians stop poisoning the minds of their children. If the international community wants to advance peace, it must address the true core of the conflict: the persistent Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state in any borders.

So there’s bad news, but there’s also some good news. While the Palestinians are stuck in their refusal to make peace, others are moving forward. First, Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan have weathered many storms. Second, increasingly our other neighbors recognize that we have common interests. They understand that we face the same threats from Iran and from ISIS. Now, I can tell you from a perspective of my lifetime: This is a historic change. I believe it offers a unique opportunity to advance peace. And we are working every day to seize that opportunity.

I am confident that over time the trend of embracing Israel will overcome the trend of maligning Israel, because ultimately freedom beats tyranny, and ultimately, when vigorously defended, truth beats lies. So I believe that Israel faces a future of promise. I believe that when we stand together, all of us, we can overcome all the challenges facing us.

And of these challenges, none is greater than Iran’s unrelenting aggression.Iran remains fully committed to genocide – our genocide. Its leaders loudly, openly, even proudly, they say and proclaim that their goal is to destroy Israel.Iran sends deadly weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon against us. It bankrolls Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza against us.It seeks to open a new terror front on the Golan against us.And it offers thousands of dollars for each Palestinian terror attacks against us.

So here’s what I believe: I believe that both those who supported the nuclear deal and those who opposed it can, at the very least, work together to stop Iran’s aggression and terror and hold Iran accountable for its transgressions.

Since the nuclear deal, Iran has continued to conduct ballistic missile tests, in defiance of its international obligations.As you’ve heard, Iran recently fired a ballistic missile with a Hebrew inscription painted on it. It said, ‘Israel must be wiped out’.So ladies and gentlemen, the writing is not on the wall it’s on the missile.

Now my friends, an arrow just like this was shot by a Roman soldier at Yodfat.He was fighting to end Jewish independence once and for all.But imperial Rome is long goneand I am speaking to you today from our capital, Jerusalem, as the Prime Minister of the reborn Jewish state.We have restored our independence. We have restored our capacity to defend ourselves. Iran should learn this history and it should have no illusions.Israel will defend itself mightily against all those who seek to destroy us.And Iran should remember that today it’s not only the enemies of the Jewish people who have arrows.Today, the Jewish state can defend itself with powerful arrows of our own. Take a look.

The Arrow missile defense system is the product of Americans and Israelis working together. So I want to say again to all of you: Thank you America. Thank you AIPAC. Thank you for helping secure our common future, and a happy Purim to all of you. Thank you.”

Benjamin Netanyahu Administration: Remarks With Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Jerusalem on February 23, 2016. The two leaders signed a joint statement on water that focuses on cooperation on water and agricultural issues and establishes a joint bilateral committee. After the signing, they met privately and then held an expanded meeting in which they and their delegations discussed security and the fight against terrorism as well as bilateral cooperation on - inter alia - cyber, energy, agriculture, water, irrigation and public health issues. This was the first visit of a Kenyan President to Israel since 1994.

Prime Minister Netanyahu

Mr. President, It's a pleasure to welcome you and your colleagues to Jerusalem. This is your first visit to Israel as the President of Kenya.

We have had a remarkable relationship between our two peoples. It's a partnership that dates back over half a century. Your father, Jomo Kenyatta, is the founding father of the Kenyan nation, and the leader of your country's struggle for independence. He was also the architect of the friendship between Israel and Kenya. He demonstrated that friendship most dramatically 40 years ago in helping Israel in the raid in Entebbe to rescue our hostages. This is something that has left a deep imprint on Israel. The people of Israel are grateful for that. And I'm personally grateful for that.

We have since developed our relationship in so many areas and it's a growing relationship. We speak regularly on the phone. We try in many ways to improve our relationship and bring it to new heights in so many areas.

The first area is a battle, our common battle against militant Islamic terrorism. Both our peoples have suffered at the hand of these, at the hands of these brutal terrorists. We have no illusions about them. They want to murder our people and we know that this is a common battle that we share with you and we're prepared to do a great deal more. In fact, Israel is willing and prepared to work with African countries in our common battle against militant Islamic terrorism. I have to say that more and more African countries recognizes what you recognize - that Israel is a unique partner against this extremism, that Israel is a unique partner in the way that we can work together to seize the opportunities of the future. And we're going to discuss these opportunities and these challenges today and what we do in security, and what we do in agriculture, and what we do in water and irrigation and technology in every field that touches our national life. Israel is prepared to work with Kenya and the countries of Africa. And I want to say that you are, in many ways, leading this direction. And I welcome that not merely in the context of our relationship with Kenya but in our relationship with the countries of Africa. Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel.

And we can have no better leader showing the way than President Kenyatta of Kenya. So I welcome you in that spirit to Israel and I look forward to our discussions.

Kenyan President Kenyatta

Prime Minister, may I just say first and foremost thank you on my own behalf and on behalf of my delegation for the very warm welcome that we've received since we arrived here in Jerusalem yesterday evening. And to say that for us this is a historic visit, as you have just mentioned. The strong partnership between Kenya and Israel stems all the way back to our independence, actually prior to our independence given the fact that your government made formal communication even to my own father while he was still actually on the house arrest.

With the spirit of us working together, we are both countries have had to struggle for our independence, we have fought for our independence and as such we value the issues of sovereignty, of independence and for the right to self-determination. We are founded on strong principles of democracy, strong principles of freedom of expression, principles of freedom of religious expression and I think this brings us together in many ways.

Equally, as I have said before, we both live in challenging neighborhoods with similar security concerns and the cooperation between our two governments since the time of our independence has been formidable and we look forward that this particular trip will strengthen those ties even further.

We have no room for extremism, we must do everything that we can to protect the freedoms and the beliefs and the principles and the common values that we share and we look forward to further strengthening our cooperation in the security area. We look forward to partnering with you and with the rest of the world in combatting violent extremism and all this in order to be able to give our people the freedoms necessary to be able to enjoy a prosperous, stable, free society. So, I am looking forward to engaging with you and your government in these ends as well as further deepening our cooperation in agriculture, as you said, in irrigation, in water management and the experiences that Israel itself has had as well as information technology where we in Kenya can learn a lot from your own particular experiences.

So Prime Minister on my own behalf, on behalf of my delegation, I thank you for the welcome. We have enjoyed our stay so far and I am looking forward to some very fruitful deliberations that will see a further deepening of the partnership and relationship between not only Kenya and Israel but also the strengthening of the partnership between Kenya, I mean - Israel and Africa. So once again, thank you for the welcome.

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Is Netanyahu really finished? Is someone with only 7 seats really going to become prime minister? Did a Muslim Brotherhood party really agree to join Israel’s government? If this new government rises to power, is that good or bad?

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES—It was strange, I will admit, to be in an Arab country while the biggest day in Israeli politics in a generation unfolded back home.

Indeed, yesterday was the Super Bowl of Israeli politics.

The Knesset voted to elect a new President – Isaac “Bougie” Herzog – for a seven-year term.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the opposition informed the current President Reuven Rivlin that they have formed a new government after four rounds of elections in two years, no state budget and ongoing political chaos and confusion.

Yet, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett only called Rivlin minutes before their mandate expired at midnight.

And only after a day of intense – some might say “brutal" – negotiations between eight opposition parties who have very little in common with each other except that they want to remove Netanyahu from power.

All the while Netanyahu and his allies were doing everything they possibly could to stop, or at least slow down, their opponents from driving them out of power.

You thought the fireworks over Trump and Biden over the past year were intense?

That’s nothing compared to Israeli politics, which are truly a blood sport.

But what does all of it mean?

I’m getting questions from Evangelicals all over the world.

Let me try to answer some of them as best I can.

QUESTION: Is Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu really finished?

ANSWER: No, not yet. Let’s be honest. He’s in grave danger. But remember, Netanyahu is a shrewd political cat. You don’t become the longest-serving prime minister in the modern history of Israel without knowing how to engage in full metal jacket political combat. Or without having a few tricks up your sleeve.

At this point, I would not count Bibi out. Yes, many Israelis hate him. But he is still the most popular politician in Israel. His party, Likud, is still the biggest with 30 seats, almost double that of his main rival, Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party has 17 seats.

And keep in mind that the coalition that Lapid and Bennett have formed is a hodgepodge of right-wing, centrist, and left-wing parties that have almost nothing in common with each other, as well as an Arab party that has never participated in an Israeli government before.

These are not people who are used to working with each other. Some of them deeply despise each other’s ideologies.

So this whole thing could blow apart at any moment.

That’s what Netanyahu and his allies will work toward, and it very well could happen.

QUESTION: Is someone with only seven seats in the Knesset really going to become the prime minister of Israel?

ANSWER: Maybe.

Naftali Bennett and his Yamina party only have seven seats – but actually, only five of his colleagues want to join this government. One says he will vote against it.

Never in Israeli history has the leader of a party with so few seats ever become premier.

The reason it could happen is that Lapid, with 17 seats, knows he cannot form a government without Bennett’s help.

Lapid, a centrist, also knows that Israel has become a center-right country, politically.

Thus, he could not depend only on centrist and left-wing parties to oust Netanyahu and bring about change.

He urgently needed right-wing parties.

That’s why Bennett became widely known as the “kingmaker” during the recent campaign, because everyone realized Lapid could never become king without Bennett’s help.

But now the kingmaker is poised to become the king.

To persuade Bennett to abandon Bibi and his right-wing allies, Lapid offered Bennett the opportunity to become prime minister for the first two years of their term, while Lapid would serve as Foreign Minister.

Then the two will switch roles after two years.

Bennett would have preferred to form a right-wing government with Netanyahu, despite his immense and growing frustrations with Netanyahu.

But Netanyahu could not persuade enough parties to join him to form an actual government.

So Bennett decided to take Lapid’s offer to prevent the country from being forced into a fifth round of elections.

QUESTION: Did a Muslim Brotherhood party really just agree to join an Israeli government?


Ra’am is an Islamist party of Arab citizens of Israel.

Led by Mansour Abbas, it only has four seats in the Knesset, but yes, it is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yet, as ALL ISRAEL NEWS has reported, Abbas is charting a very different path for his party.

He has denounced Arab violence against Jews, and Jewish violence against Arabs.

He is urging Israeli Arabs to become active in Israeli politics in order to get more funding for Arab cities and education, more police protection to fight crime in Arab cities, and so forth.

Not all Israeli Arabs agree with the direction Abbas is going. Indeed, most of his fellow Arab Knesset members are actively opposed to what he is doing.

But on Wednesday night, just minutes before the deadline, he signed on the dotted line and agreed to help form the next Israeli government to remove Netanyahu from power and make the right-wing Naftali Bennett the next prime minister.

Can this experiment work? Abbas may be fully committed to this move, but are the other three members of his party? Will they hold up under intense media and public pressure from Arabs who believe they should remain in opposition to every Zionist government, and those who cannot stand Bennett, saying he is more right-wing than Bibi?

To be clear, I have concerns about Abbas. I’m glad he wants to play a more constructive role and help his people. Great. Maybe he really is changing for the better. But he has said some pretty extreme things in the past. He has not exactly been a force for peace in the past. Just one example: Last year, Abbas voted against ratifying the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations with the UAE (where I am now), Bahrain, and others. Why?

That said, it is not exactly fair for Netanyahu and his allies to attack Bennett, Lapid and the “change government” for embracing Abbas.

After all, it was Netanyahu who first courted Abbas and tried to form a government with him.

Abbas was interested, and engaged in numerous talks with Bibi and his colleagues.

In the end, however, it was Bibi’s far right-wing political allies – led by Bezalel Smotrich – who refused to ever work side-by-side with Arabs.

So what will happen next? We will have to stay tuned.

QUESTION: If this change really happens, and this government is really formed, and Netanyahu is really removed from power, is that a good thing or bad?

ANSWER: First of all, that’s a whole lot of “ifs.”

I would recommend we wait to see what really happens.

If there is a new government, we can assess it honestly. And we can examine why Netanyahu lost his grip on power.

But we are simply not there yet.

First, I am not ready to write a political obituary for Netanyahu – there are just too many possible twists and turns in this story ahead.

Second, we need to see what the principles and the policies of the new government would be. What agreements have they actually signed? What would be their agenda? We know what the individual leaders and parties stand for, but we don’t know what this government stands for. Let’s wait to learn more before we decide.

Third, it should be noted that there is nothing immoral or fundamentally unwise about forming a government with centrist and left-wing parties. Netanyahu himself has formed numerous governments over the years with such parties. Bibi makes it sound like Yair Lapid is some kind of crazed, leftist, socialist, anti-Christ. But Bibi has brought Lapid into his government in the past and made him finance minister. So, keep in mind we are hearing a good deal of political hyperbole right now.

Fourth, one more thing should be noted: Evangelical Christians are going to have real and understandable concerns about this new government. Evangelicals have watched Netanyahu for three decades and despite his flaws and mistakes have come to deeply trust and respect him. Few Evangelicals have ever heard of Lapid or Bennett. They know little or nothing about these men, or their allies, and thus do not have respect and trust for them. Can it be earned? Yes. But it will take time.

For now, I would urge Christians to pray for the Lord’s will to be done, and for God to grant wisdom and mercy to whoever leads Israel’s next government.

Please also pray for the physical protection of Israel’s leaders, their families and their staffs.

Bennett and his ally, Ayelet Shaked, are particularly getting many death threats against them from far-right extremists who believe they have been betrayed.

Netanyahu: Israel Ready To Make Painful Concessions Palestinians Must, Too

Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner watch as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses lawmakers at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Saul Loeb /AFP/Getty Images

Many eyes were on Congress this morning as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint meeting of the House and Senate.

His speech came on the heels of the very public disagreement the Israeli leader has had with President Obama over whether Israel's pre-1967 war borders should be the basis (assuming there will also be mutually agreed-upon land swaps) for peace talks with the Palestinians.

We updated this post with highlights from Netanyahu's address. Be sure to hit your "refresh" button to see our latest additions.

Update at 12:08 p.m. ET. At The End, Shades Of Reagan:

In a line that will remind many of President Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" quote, as he approaches the end of his address Netanyahu says to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: "tear up your pact with Hamas. Sit down and negotiate. Make peace with the Jewish state."

Update at 12:05 p.m. ET. On Palestinian Efforts At The U.N.:

Turning to a bid by Palestinian leaders to get the U.N. to recognize a Palestinian state, Netanyahu says it must be "forcefully opposed" by those who want peace.

"Peace cannot be imposed, it must be negotiated," he says.

Update at 12:03 p.m. ET. Israel's Small Size Requires 'Unique Security Arrangements':

"Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size," Netanyahu says. Turing to Vice President Biden, he says, "I'll grant you this. It's bigger than Delaware. It's even bigger than Rhode Island. But that's about it."

That small size, he says, requires that any future Palestinian state be demilitarized.

Update at noon ET. Jerusalem:

"As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected the freedom of worship for all faiths in the city," Netanyahu says. "Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel."

Update at 11:57 a.m. ET. On The '67 Borders:

"As President Obama said," Netanyahu continues, Israel's borders after any peace agreement "will be different" than they were before the 1967 war.

With that reference, he's focusing on Obama's statement that the '67 borders — with mutually agreed upon land swaps — should be the basis of peace talks.

Update at 11:56 a.m. ET. With Acceptance Of Israel, Compromise Can Follow:

If Palestinian leaders accept and endorse the right of Israel to exist, Netanyahu says, he will support significant compromises on Israel's part.

Update at 11:55 a.m. ET. Why Hasn't There Been A Peace Pact?

The reason a peace agreement hasn't been struck between Israel and the Palestinians, says Netanyahu, is that the other side is "unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it."

It is time for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to stand before his people and say "I will accept a Jewish state," Netanyahu says.

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Palestinians Deserve A Home:

Saying that the region is also the historical home for Palestinians, Netanyahu says he is committed to establishing a Palestinian state.

Update at 11:47 a.m. ET. Turning To The Peace Process:

"We must . find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians," says Netanyahu, and that will mean "painful concessions" on Israel's part that include ceding some places that are part of the Jewish homelands.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. Quest For Peace Will Continue:

"We must take calls for our destruction seriously," Netanyahu says. "We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say 'never again,' we mean 'never again!' "

And while "Israel always reserves the right to defend itself," he continues, "we'll never give up our quest for peace . until we achieve it."

Update at 11:43 a.m. ET. How To Deal With Iran:

"The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance for confrontation," says Netanyahu.

Update at 11:41 a.m. ET. Thanks For America's Support Regarding Iran:

"In much of the international community calls for our destruction are met with utter silence," Netanyahu says. "Many rush to condemn Israel for defending itself. . Not you. Not America."

Update at 11:38 a.m. ET. Iran:

"Powerful forces" oppose freedom in the Middle East and Israel's existence, Netanyahu says, and "foremost among these forces is Iran."

He warns that "time is running out. The hinge of history may soon turn. . The greatest danger of all could soon be upon us: a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons."

And Iran is working on missiles, Netanyahu says, that could deliver a nuclear weapon to Washington.

Update at 11:36 a.m. ET. Israel Is What Is Right:

Making the case that it's only in Israel where Arab citizens have democratic rights, Netanyahu declares that "Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East, Israel is what is right about the Middle East."

Update at 11:35 a.m. ET. On The Arab Spring:

Referring to events in North Africa and the Mideast and the efforts by people there to promote democracy and reform, Netanyahu says that true freedom only comes when "governments permit protests in town squares . and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule."

Update at 11:31 a.m. ET. Thank You To Obama:

Shortly before the disruption, Netanyahu thanked President Obama for his "steadfast commitment to Israel's security."

Update at 11:29 a.m. ET. Disruption:

There was just a brief disruption when someone started shouting from the gallery. Lawmakers quickly drowned out the protester. And Netanyahu said "this is real democracy," to more cheers.

Update at 11:27 a.m. ET. "Good Riddance!" To bin Laden:

To a rousing ovation, Netanyahu says "congratulations Mr. President, you got bin Laden! Good riddance!"

Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. "No Better Friend":

"Israel has no better friend than America and America has no better friend than Israel!" Netanyahu declares.

Update at 11:24 a.m. ET. A Little Joke At The Start:

Referring to Vice President Biden, Netanyahu asks "Mr. Vice President do you remember the time when we were the new kids in town?" Biden laughed and did the sign of the cross.


  1. Teetonka

    It won't go for free.

  2. Fshd

    I am very grateful to you.

  3. Kaimi

    I can't take part in the discussion right now - there is no free time. I will be released - I will definitely express my opinion on this issue.

  4. Korian

    It seems to me that the idea in this article is not fully disclosed. Author, can you add something to this?

  5. Culloden

    strange feeling. that only bots live here

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