While Barack Obama tours the UK, Congress gets to hear from another head of state, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. After lecturing the US President on the history and issues of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Netanyahu will deliver his vision of a settlement on Capitol Hill:
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.”
The speech will start shortly, and can be seen at C-SPAN. What will Netanyahu have to say, and how will it be received? Let’s open up the comments to get your feedback.
Update: Here’s the live video:
Update II: I removed the video code. The speech went very well for Netanyahu, I believe. He offered a perfect riposte to hecklers who interrupted him early, saying that “[y]ou can’t have real protests in the farcical parliaments of Tehran or Tripoli. This is real democracy.” It was a great ad-lib, and it led directly into one of his major themes, which was that Israel was the true beacon of liberty in the Middle East, the only place where Arabs enjoy real freedom (although some might quibble with that claim these days with Iraq in mind).
Netanyahu took great care to offer gracious compliments to Obama throughout the speech. However, he made it clear that Israel will not be returning to the 1967 border, a suggestion that Obama broached and then almost immediately backpedaled from over the last few days. Netanyahu also emphatically rejected negotiations with Hamas while it still includes in its charter the goal of Israel’s destruction and the command to “kill the Jews wherever they are found.” He called upon Mahmoud Abbas to renege on his partnership with Hamas, which Netanyahu called the Palestinian version of al-Qaeda.
Some said this would be the speech of a lifetime for Netanyahu. If so, he delivered in spectacular fashion.