On Tuesday, Feb. 10, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a statement confirming his decision to go to Washington, D.C. next month and to speak in the U.S. Congress about the dangers of the offer the U.S. and its partners has made to Iran.
The prime minister addressed the issue which has been dividing the leadership of the U.S. and Israel: the acceptance by Netanyahu of an invitation to speak before a joint session of Congress next month. It is something this U.S. administration strongly opposes.
Netanyahu acknowledged the very close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, one that has remained strong despite many strong disagreements between leaders in the two countries throughout that relationship. Examples of those disagreements included ones between Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and the U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, Levi Eshkol’s decision at the start of the Six Day War, Menachem Begin’s decision to bomb Iraq’s Osirik nuclear reactor, and Prime Minister Sharon’s Operation Defensive Shield.
The Prime Minister turned next to the heart of the current disagreement. It is not over whether Netanyahu should speak before a joint session of Congress, or about how or even when the invitation was extended.
The fundamental disagreement is over the offer Netanyahu said the P5+1, including the U.S., ‘has made‘ to Iran. Note: not may make, not is thinking of making, but has made. According to Netanyahu, the offer has already been extended, and it is an offer, Netanyahu said, that “threatens Israel’s survival.”
Under this deal, Netanyahu stated, Iran will be able “to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time, and within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs.”
Netanyahu repeated this is not a personal disagreement between himself and President Obama. “I deeply appreciate all that he has done for Israel in many fields,” he said, and he is not going to Washington because he seeks “a confrontation with the President.”
But Netanyahu is going to Washington, he said, “because I must fulfill my obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country,” and he will speak to Congress before the March 24th political framework deadline, “because Congress might have an important role on a nuclear deal with Iran.”