Amid a storm of controversy, Prime Minister Netanyahu has accepted an invitation to address a joint session of Congress to discuss Iran’s nuclear aspirations, saying he will defend Israel anywhere.
Despite the fury expressed by the Obama Administration over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accepting an invitation to address Congress in March, the Israeli leader remains adamant that he will resist pressure when it comes to defending the Jewish state.
Speaking Sunday morning at the weekly cabinet session, Netanyahu explained:
“In the coming weeks, the major powers are liable to reach a framework agreement with Iran, an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger – first and foremost – the existence of the State of Israel. This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iraq. This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons.
“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel,” he continued. “This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are refusing to meet Netanyahu during his upcoming trip, citing protocol issues.
On Thursday, the prime minister confirmed that he had accepted the invitation sent by Speaker John Boehner, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to address a joint meeting of Congress. “The address will provide an opportunity for the Prime Minister to thank President Obama, the US Congress and the American people for their support of Israel,” Netanyahu stated.
“I am honored by this invitation, which reflects the special friendship shared by Israel and the United States as well as the strong bipartisan support for Israel across America,” he said. “Just last week I discussed with President Obama the common challenges we face from Islamist extremism, including resurgent terrorism and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. I look forward to being able to share with the joint session Israel’s vision for working together to address these threats and to reiterate Israel’s commitment to the bond that unites our two democracies.”
Nevertheless, American officials expressed outrage that Netanyahu had not coordinated the visit with the White House, citing a “breach of protocol.”
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the Obama administration did not want to get into a “blame game” over the issue with Netanyahu.
“Let’s take a step back: This is the most important relationship we have in the world. This is something that ought to be and will continue to be, as far as we are concerned, above partisan politics,” he said, referring to the US relationship with Israel.
Two Most Urgent Issues: ISIS and Iran
Netanyahu is eager to address the American people on the two issues that he considers a profound threat to Israel as well as to the West: Iran’s nuclear advances and Islamic State terror.
Obama has threatened to veto any sanctions on Iran, insisting on using diplomacy to make a deal. By law, however, Congress has the power to veto a bill by the president.
Army Radio reported on Sunday that the Likud Party sent out instructions to Likud parliament members as well as ministers, instructing them to emphasize that Congress has the power to override a presidential veto. Obama has threatened to exercise his presidential powers to veto any bill put forth by Congress calling for further sanctions on Iran.
A report on Channel 2 last week revealed that despite negotiations with Six Global Powers, Iran has continued its nuclear agenda and has already developed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching farther than Europe.
“The role of an Israeli leader is to adopt the policies that protect Israel, even when they are unpopular at the White House. Far from being ostracized for those policies, such an Israeli leader will be supported, respected, and relied upon by those who share with him a concern for what truly matters,” Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor at The Jerusalem Post, wrote in a column published over the weekend.
Referring to the Channel 2 program, Glick, who may be offered a realistic spot on the Likud party list, according to recent reports, pointed out that “Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is an integral part of its nuclear weapons program, is moving forward at full throttle. The expanded range of Iran’s ballistic missile program as indicated by the satellite imagery makes clear that its nuclear weapons program is not merely a threat to Israel, or to Israel and Europe. It is a direct threat to the United States as well.”
By: Atara Beck, World Israel News