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March 2, 2020 1:08 pm

Netanyahu at AIPAC: Sanders Criticism ‘Outrageous’; Pledges to Annex Parts of West Bank With American Support

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, March 1, 2020. Photo: AIPAC.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday gave a pointed response to statements made by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders attacking the American pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, calling them “outrageous” and “libelous charges.”

In a Feb. 24 tweet, Sanders said he would not attend AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference held this week because of “the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

Addressing the Policy Conference from Israel via satellite, Netanyahu said, without mentioning Sanders by name, “We were all reminded a few days ago that there are forces who seek to break our alliance.”

“Last year, those who came to AIPAC were accused of dual loyalty,” he noted. “This year, AIPAC was accused of providing a platform for bigotry. These libelous charges are outrageous.”

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“The best way to respond to that outrage is to do what you have done, by gathering in Washington today in full force,” Netanyahu asserted.

“By coming together as Democrats and Republicans, as liberals and conservatives, as people of different faiths, races, and ethnicities, you send a powerful message to all those who seek to weaken our great alliance: that they will fail,” he said.

Netanyahu also used the opportunity to confirm that he would seek to annex parts of the West Bank whether or not the Palestinians agree to negotiate on the basis of the Trump administration’s peace plan.

“Trump’s deal of the century is the opportunity of the century for Israel,” he said. “It enables Israel to secure our vital security and our vital national interest by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over the Jewish communities that flourish in the heart of our ancestral homeland.”

Noting that a joint US-Israel mapping committee had begun work on designating which parts of the West Bank will remain under Israeli sovereignty, Netanyahu said, “I believe that that work should be finished in the next couple of months.”

“Israel will then apply its laws to all those territories that are designated by the Trump plan as being part of Israel, and the United States will recognize those territories as part of Israel,” he pledged.

“The map of Israel will change, the future of Israel will change, and it will change for the better,” Netanyahu asserted.

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