Israel’s Prime Minister tells AIPAC Conference “we must stop Iran and we will stop Iran,” while urging Palestinian Authority autocrat Mahmoud Abbas to “embrace peace” and to stop paying his people to murder Jews.
– WATCH PM Netanyahu’s speech in its entirety.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)’s annual Conference Tuesday, where he said that “we must stop Iran and we will stop Iran,” while urging Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to “embrace peace” and paying homage to the “beautiful alliance” between the US and Israel.
After delivering a presentation about Israel’s technological worth on the world stage and outlining his optimistic vision for his country’s ability to further “change the world,” the Israeli premier turned his attention to “the bad news.”
“The bad news is that bad things are getting worse. We have to deal with this challenge and I’m thinking specifically what do we do about Iran,” he told his audience. “The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran.”
The prime minister further reiterated that Iran remains bent on building permanent military bases in Syria via a corridor through which it can move its army and its navy to the war-torn country.
“It is also seeking to build precision-missiles, We must not let that happen. I will not let that happen. We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran,” he repeated.
Netanyahu met with Trump at the White House Monday, and was told by the president that he may come to Israel for the opening of the new American Embassy.
Trump asserted that decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “was a wonderful thing, and I know it was very much appreciated in a big part of the world, not just in Israel.”
“That was a decision I had to make. Many presidents were discussing whether or not to make that decision, and they promised this in their campaigns, but they never were able to do what they should have done,” he asserted.
Netanyahu thanked Trump for Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move its embassy to the holy city. “This is the first time we meet in Washington, America’s capital, after you declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And this was a historic proclamation, followed by your bold decision to move the embassy by our upcoming national independence day,” Netanyahu told Trump.
“I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a long memory,” the prime minister continued, detailing other important decisions in the history of the Jewish people. “This will be remember by our people throughout the ages,” he determined. “Others talked about it, you did it.”
The Middle East peace process grew even more complicated recently after Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, lost his top-secret security clearance.
But Netanyahu sounded optimistic about the peace process, noting that “the Arabs have never been closer to Israel; Israel has never been closer to the Arab states. And we seek also to broaden that peace to the Palestinians.”
Trump himself was also confident of the chances to reach peace between Israel and the Palestinians, asserting that “If we could do peace between Israel and the Palestinians, that would be a great thing for the world, that would be a great thing for this country, and a great thing for everybody.”
The American president further insisted that by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, “We’ve taken (the dispute over Jerusalem) off the table. So this gives us a real opportunity to peace.”
He was also hopeful that “the Palestinians, I think, want to come back to the table. If they don’t, you don’t have peace. That’s a possibility also. I’m not saying it’s going to happen.”
The two leaders were also expected to discuss efforts to curb the regional influence, which Netanyahu described as the “greatest challenge in the Middle East.”
“Iran is not giving up its nuclear ambitions. It came out of this nuclear deal emboldened and rich. It is practicing aggression everywhere, including on our own border, and I think we have to stop this country that chants ‘Death to Israel, Death to America.’ Iran must be stopped,” the Israeli premier stressed.
At the outset of their meeting, Trump also boasted “the best relationship right now with Israel that we’ve ever had. I think it’s closer now than maybe ever before,” saying the two countries were “very close on trade deals, we are very very close on military and terrorism.”
Netanyahu echoed Trump’s sentiments, saying, “I’ve been here for nearly four decades with, talking, seeking to build the American-Israel alliance. Under your leadership, it’s never been stronger. And the people of Israel see your position on Jerusalem. They see your position on Iran. They see your magnificent defense of Israel and the truth in the United Nations. And I as prime minister see something that you as president see, but others can’t see. It’s the extent of our intelligence and other cooperation in matters that are vital for the security of both our peoples.”
AFP contributed to this report.
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