Netanyahu confirms scheduled visit to Congress to address nuclear Iran

PM states he will go “anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence

 Prime Minister Netanyahu during his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday (Marc Israel Sellem)

Prime Minister Netanyahu during his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday (Marc Israel Sellem)

Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed on Sunday morning during his weekly cabinet meeting that he will visit the US Congress in Washington to discuss Iranian sanctions and the rise of radical Islam, despite criticism from the White House and President Obama.

The prime minister was invited last week by U.S. Speaker John Boehner who invited Netanyahu for his third visit to address a special joint session “on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate”.

Boehner stated that “Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people… In this time of challenge, I am asking the prime minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”

Netanyahu is the only foreign leader, aside from Winston Churchill, to address Congress three times.

Netanyahu stated on Sunday that “As prime minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel. This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”

Addressing the likelihood of world powers reaching an agreement on Iran on its nuclear program, Netanyahu stated, “This endangers, first and foremost, the existence of the State of Israel. Iran must not be allowed to advance to an atomic weapon. I am obligated to make every effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon to aim at Israel.”

The meeting with Congress, which has now been postponed to March 3 from February 11th, has caused much controversy, President Obama warning that he would veto any sanctions bill passed through Congress. The President stated that he would “veto a bill that comes to my desk… I respectfully request them [Congress] to hold off for a few of months to see if we have the responsibility of resolve a big problem with out resorting potentially to war. And I think that’s worth doing.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron also expressed support for President Obama, warning that “Further sanctions or further threat of sanctions at this point will not actually help to bring the talks to a successful conclusion, and they could fracture the international unity their has been, which has been so valuable in presenting united front to Iran.”

The White House confirmed that President Obama would not meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit in March.