Netanyahu addresses joint session of Congress
Note: This live blog event has concluded.
12:10 p.m. — Prime Minister Netanyahu ends remarks by offering God’s blessing for America.
(It should be noted that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not using a teleprompter.)
“I appreciate the president’s clear position on this issue: peace cannot be imposed, it must be negotiated. But peace can only be negotiated with partners dedicated to peace… Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction.” To Abbas: “Hamas is not a partner for peace.”
“In the Middle East, the only peace you can hold is the peace you can defend. Peace must be anchored in security.”
Fate of Jerusalem: “Only Israel has protected all faiths of the city… Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel.”
“Israel will be generous on the size of the Palestinian state, but will be firm on where we put the border with it,” the prime minister says, doubling down on his previous comments that the borders of 1967 are “indefensible.” Adds: “The Palestinian refugee problem will be solved outside the borders of Israel.” Congress responds with multiple standing ovations.
“It’s never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state but about the existence of a Jewish state… it’s time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say, ‘I will accept a Jewish state.’” With this admission, Netanyahu states, “I would be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise.”
“The Jewish people are not foreign occupiers… No distortion of history could destroy the 4000 year old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.”
Related: When it comes to Israel, “Obama is the odd man out.”
Netanyahu is playing this cool. He could use this opportunity to tear into Obama’s “1967 borders” policy, but is clearly taking the highest road. He’s flattering Obama and leaving wiggle room for the president while simultaneously undercutting his “negotiate with Iran” policy. “Israel always reserves the right to defend itself… we’ll never give up our quest for peace… because we want peace, because we need peace.”
Side note: I hope Cynthia McKinney is watching this speech in Iran right now.
“Militant Islam threatens the world…it threatens Islam.” Netanyahu also touches on about Iran nuclear threat. “They (Iran) are working on missiles that could reach this city (DC).”
11:36 a.m. — Epic speech so far. “Only in Israel do Arabs enjoy real democratic rights.” — a resounding affirmation of Israel’s true uniqueness in the region.
“Israel stands out. It is different.” — again, so true. “Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.”
“You think you have contentious debates here in Congress? Come visit the Knesset for one day, be my guest.”
“The path less traveled: the path of liberty.” So true — lest we forget how blessed we are!
11:29 a.m. — A protester shouts from the House gallery, interrupting the prime minister’s remarks. “You can’t have these protests in Tehran,” the prime minister ad libs. “This is real democracy.”
Netanyahu describes “great turmoil” in the Middle East, warning that “the ground is still shifting.”
“Israel has no better friend than America, and America has no better friend than Israel,” the prime minister announces. “We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism.”
“Good riddance,” Netanyahu says, congratulating America on killing Osama bin Laden.
11:23 a.m. — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu begins his remarks. Click here for a live video feed.
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