News / USA

    US Congress Gives Netanyahu Speech An Enthusiastic Response

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 24, 2011
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 24, 2011

    Multimedia

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received an exuberant welcome from a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.  The Israeli leader told lawmakers his vision of how to achieve a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was happy to return to the U.S. Capitol, where he gave his first speech to a joint meeting in 1996.

    He emphasized the strong bonds between Israel and the United States. "In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability.  In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America's unwavering ally.  Israel has always been pro-American, Israel will always be pro-American," said the Israeli prime minister.

    Netanyahu's speech was interrupted at least 29 times for standing ovations, and once by a young woman protester who unfurled a banner and shouted, "No more occupation, end Israeli war crimes."  She was quickly removed from the House gallery.

    Netanyahu said the Middle East now stands at a crossroads, and commended the courageous Arab protesters who have taken to the streets in a number of countries.  He pointed out that Israel has long had a robust democracy and that its citizens enjoy civil liberties denied elsewhere in the Middle East.

    "In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different," he said.

    The Israeli Prime Minister singled out Iran as one of the most powerful forces opposing democracy in the region, and warned of the ongoing danger he said Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons poses.  

    "After six million Jews were murdered, Iran's leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.  Leaders who spew such venom should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet," he said.

    Since arriving late last week in Washington, Netanyahu and President Barack Obama have publicly clashed about the basis for reviving the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

    Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected returning to the pre-1967 war borders.  President Obama told a pro-Israeli lobbying group on Sunday that Israel must "make the hard choices" necessary to reach a peace agreement.  He said they include basing the borders of Israel and a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps.

     Map of Israeli pre-1967 borders

    Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, the most powerful Democrat in the Senate, spoke to the same group late Monday, and gave support to Netanyahu's stance and not to President Obama's.  Senator Reid said negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must take place at the negotiating table - and nowhere else - not in speeches.

    “No one should set premature parameters about borders, about building, or about anything else,” he said.

    In his address to Congress, Netanyahu emphasized the points of agreement with President Obama and praised him repeatedly, without giving any ground on his own position on the borders in a future peace agreement.

    "We will be generous about the size of the future Palestinian state, but as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967," he said. "Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967.

    Netanyahu also called for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to stand before his people and declare that he will accept a Jewish state, and to tear up his unity pact with the militant organization Hamas.  He also said Israel must continue to have a military presence in the Jordan Valley, and that Jerusalem must never be divided.

    A spokesman for the Palestinian president quickly responded to the Israeli leader's speech to Congress, saying Netanyahu had put more obstacles in the way of a Middle East peace agreement by imposing impossible conditions.

    The two-decade old Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been at a standstill since September due to a dispute over Jewish settlement building on land captured in the 1967 war.  Palestinians say peace must be based on the 1967 boundaries and they will not accept any Israeli military presence in their future state.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Can EU Survive a Brexit?

    Across Europe politicians are asking if the British vote to leave the European Union will set in motion dynamics that will see other member states leave too

    Video Entrepreneurs Tackle Sexual Harassment, Rural Health Care at Global Summit

    VOA talks to enterprising business people from India, Nigeria, Myanmar about their programs to help their respective countries overcome obstacles

    Key African Anti-Venom About to Permanently Run Out

    The tale of Fav-Afrique’s demise is a complicated one that reflects a deeper crisis brewing in global public health

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Marketsi
    X
    June 24, 2016 10:43 AM
    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Britain’s Vote to Leave EU Sends Shockwaves Through Global Markets

    Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union is sending shockwaves through global markets. Markets from Tokyo to Europe tumbled Friday under the uncertainty the ballot brings, while regional leaders in Asia took steps to limit the possible fallout. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.
    Video

    Video During Ramadan, Faith and Football Converge in Lebanon’s Megadome

    In Beirut, a group of young entrepreneurs has combined its Muslim faith and love of football to create the city's newest landmark: a large, Ramadan-ready dome primed for one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments in the world. But as the faithful embrace the communal spirit of Islam’s holy month, it is not just those breaking their fasts that are welcome.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora