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article imageNetanyahu addresses AIPAC

By Bob Gordon     Mar 23, 2010 in Politics
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israeli lobby group on Monday.
In it he took a hardline on Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem despite ongoing American opposition. He emphatically stated that, "The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today.... Jerusalem is not a settlement; It’s our capital.”
He went on to insist that Jewish residents "living just beyond the 1949 armistice lines" will remain there:
Today, nearly a quarter of a million Jews, almost half the city's Jewish population, live in neighborhoods that are just beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
All these neighborhoods are within a five-minute drive from the Knesset.
He asserted that these neighborhoods are "integral and inextricable" parts of contemporary Jerusalem and that they "will be part of Israel in any peace settlement.
He also went on to affirm Israel's commitment to peace and placed the blame for the currently stalled peace process firmly on the shoulders of the Palestinians:
Yet Israel is unjustly accused of not wanting peace with the Palestinians. Nothing could be further from the truth.
My government has consistently shown its commitment to peace in both word and deed.
From day one, we called on the Palestinian Authority to begin peace negotiations without delay.
This is what my government has done for peace. What has the Palestinian Authority done for peace?
Well, they have placed preconditions on peace talks, waged a relentless international campaign to undermine Israel's legitimacy, and promoted the notorious Goldstone report that falsely accuses Israel of war crimes.
The Prime Minister also called on the international community to respond to the threat of a nuclear armed Iran and reminded his audience that Israel "will always reserve the right of self-defense."
The full text of the speech is available here.
Response to the speech in Arab states was swift and sharp. SPA, Saudi Arabia's official news agency cited an unnamed Saudi official who described the speech as arrogant and defiant.
Code Pink a Jewish-American lobby group that calls for foreign policies based on diplomacy, not aggression, unfurled banners after his speech that read "Netanyahu: Build Peace Not Settlements!" They also released a hoax e-mail claiming to be from AIPAC calling on Israel to stop building settlements.
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