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March 6, 2015 1:27 pm

Netanyahu to Israeli Newspaper: Congress Speech ‘Well Worth the Cost of Confrontation’ With Obama

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Federal legislators applaud Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO. After speaking to Congress on March 3 despite the objections of the Obama administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel Hayom published Friday that “a prime minister in Israel must be able to stand up even to our closest ally and tell the truth.”

Netanyahu said his speech about the Iranian nuclear threat was “well worth the cost of confrontation” with President Barack Obama.

“What are we expected to do with such a fateful issue? Put our heads down? Go back 80 years to a time when Jews were forced to cower before the nobility? Ignore a threat of annihilation? Not demand action? Stop interrupting? I refuse to accept that,” said Netanyahu.

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The prime minister said he believes his remarks “were very well received by the American public as well as the members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat.”

“I met with the Senate leadership after the speech and it was clear to me that the key points I raised had settled deep in their awareness, creating a foundation for debate and certainly prompting quite a few people to rethink their views,” he said.

While Obama said after the speech that Netanyahu “didn’t offer any viable alternatives” to the current nuclear negotiations with Iran, the prime minister told Israel Hayom that he “proposed two alternatives to the emerging deal.”

“One was my demand to increase the time frame Iran will require to manufacture a nuclear weapon should they violate the terms of the agreement,” Netanyahu said. “This can be achieved by placing tougher restrictions on the Iranian program. The second was to keep these restrictions in place until Iran significantly changes its aggressive behavior, including halting its support of terrorism and its calls to destroy Israel. Either way, under the existing deal, the sanctions will automatically be lifted in 10 years’ time and Iran will be free to build as many bombs as it wishes, and they will be able to do it in a very short time—perhaps even a few weeks.”

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