“We were all reminded a few days ago that there are forces who seek to break our alliance.”
By LAHAV HARKOV MARCH 2, 2020 16:14
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he and U.S. President Donald Trump discuss a Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID) WASHINGTON – The left flank of the Democratic Party is trying to poison ties between the US and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned.“We were all reminded a few days ago that there are forces who seek to break our alliance,” he said in his address to the AIPAC Policy Conference on Sunday via video link. “Last year, those who came to AIPAC were accused of dual loyalty. This year, AIPAC was accused of providing a platform for bigotry.” Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders called Netanyahu a racist last week and said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was a platform for bigotry. The dual loyalty accusation was likely a reference to comments made by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who said Israel supporters in Congress forgot which country they represent.“These libelous charges are outrageous,” Netanyahu said.“I have news for all those radicals who seek to weaken” Israel’s ties with the US, he added. “The best days of the Israel-US alliance are still to come.”The best response to the allegations was to come out “in full force” to the AIPAC conference, “together as Democrats and Republicans, as liberals and conservatives, as people of different faiths, races and ethnicities,” he added. “You send a powerful message to all of those who seek to weaken our great alliance.”The prime minister thanked AIPAC members for standing with Israel, saying “we have no better friends than all of you.”Earlier at the conference, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said in response to Sanders’s statements that he wasn’t wanted.“We don’t want Sanders at AIPAC. We don’t want him in Israel. Anyone who calls our prime minister a racist is either a liar, an ignorant fool or both.”Netanyahu said the US-Israel alliance is now “stronger than ever,” and he praised US President Donald Trump’s peace plan as “the opportunity for the century for Israel.”“It enables Israel to secure our vital security and our vital national interests by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over the Jewish community that lives in the heart of our ancestral homeland,” he stated. “It leaves open a path to a political settlement with the Palestinians and it will help enable Israel to normalize our relations with our other Arab neighbors in the years ahead.”Netanyahu referred to the joint US-Israel mapping committee working on the exact lines of what Israel will annex in the West Bank, saying he thinks it will be completed “in the next couple of months,” and then Israel will apply its laws to that land.“This will be a truly historic day. The map of Israel will change. The future of Israel will change, and it will change for the better,” he said.In response to a question from the audience about the Palestinians’ rejection of the Trump plan, Netanyahu called them “the pampered children of the international community.”“They keep rejecting every suggestion of compromise,” he stated. “President Trump put it to them that we are not going back to 1967, not going back to 1917 or 1947. Israel is here to stay… Let’s make a realistic peace. That is refreshing. It may take them a while, they may have withdrawal symptoms.”Netanyahu said he “will never put Israel’s future in the hands of Palestinian rejectionists.”The prime minister also referred to growing ties between Israel and Arab states, saying “they want to see Israel’s gifts and talents improve the lives of their own peoples.“What happened for decades is that the 1% of the Palestinians wagged the other 99%. That is changing,” he said.Netanyahu also referred to Monday’s election, the third in Israel in less than a year, saying he feels like Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day, in which his character has to relive the same day over and over again.“I hope that tomorrow’s election will lead to a decisive outcome. I hope that I will be able to form a strong and stable government that can help Israel deal with both the great challenges and the enormous opportunities we face,” he said.