The speech was a spectacle, with not much new being said. Like in President Obama’s speech last week, there was lots of rhetoric, with few plans for a follow up. I was particularly disappointed by the Prime’s Minister failuree to at least equate the deaths and suffering of innocent palestinians with that of Israelis.
I think that Netanyahu has treated the President, and Congress inappropriately, flippantly and with a general lack of respect over the past week. That’s not to say that the behavior wasn’t encouraged, especially by congress. I was displeased, to say the least, when both sides of the aisle gave Netanyahu a standing ovation (1 of the 26) after he refused to accept the 1967 borders policy. My displeasure was not caused by his stance (that’s another matter), but because it was an uncalled for slap in the face to the President, who supports the 1967 borders being the starting point for negotiations.
But I digress. Here are reactions from others, who I hope are more informed.
In Congress Netanyahu rejects peace, offers a fictional Palestine never to become reality and embarks on a collision course with the Palestinians and the whole world.
The speech of PM Netanyahu in the US Congress was composed of dozens of colorful gimmicks and empty cliches, talk of a peace which he does not intend to conclude and of a fictional Palestinian state which he has no intention of seeing become reality.
From the Jerusalem Post:
Otniel Schneller of Kadima, who said the prime minister had succeeded in speaking for a consensus of Israelis.
Schneller urged his faction to put politics aside in favor of the national interest.
But a Kadima spokesman accused Netanyahu of unnecessarily harming relations with the United States and said he would be judged by his actions and not his oratory capabilities.
Kadima MK Yoel Hasson accused the prime minister of staging an election campaign from Washington.
“Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was an election commercial,” Hasson said. “It was an attempt by Netanyahu to present a false impression that he is willing to enter negotiations.
Compilation of responses:
-David Newman – professor at Ben-Gurion University:
“He’s offering a truncated West Bank. He wants to leave as many settlements as possible. He does, on other hand say, ‘negotiate with us, not Hamas, all very positive, but you have to get to that point, and I don’t think he’s offered us anything about how to get to that point.”
– PLO President Mahmoud Abbas spokesman:
“There was nothing new in Netanyahu’s speech other than more obstacles in front of the peace process … Real peace is based on a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
White House Response:
The White House on Tuesday offered a muted response to Prime Minister BinyaminNetanyahu’s speech in Congress on Tuesday, saying the Israeli leader had “reaffirmed the strength of the US-Israeli relationship” and had “pointed to the importance of peace.”
Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser accompanying Obama on a trip to London, said “What we’ll continue to do is reaffirm our shared goal, which the prime minister referenced today, that a two-state solution is in the interest of all the parties and that we have to redouble our efforts to pursue that.”