Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress. Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-1), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, issued the following statement after the address:
"Today I had the privilege of hearing Prime Minister Netanyahu speak before a joint session of Congress. The Prime Minister's inspiring words remind us all that our alliance with Israel is not only based on common interests like fighting terrorism, but on the shared values that characterize our societies. As Arab citizens take to the streets fighting despots and demanding their intrinsic human rights, Israel offers a shining example that true democracy can flourish in any part of the world.
The Prime Minister also expressed his ardent desire for peace and once again called on the Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiating table without preconditions. Although security may be achievable unilaterally, peace is not; Palestinian rejectionism--whether by Hamas or Fatah--must be abandoned. The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, however, presents a very real barrier to peace. As the Prime Minister stated, Israel will not--nor should it--negotiate with those who seek to destroy it or its citizens. As I have said in the past, U.S. taxpayer money should under no circumstance go to a Palestinian government whose members do not all recognize the State of Israel's right to exist, renounce terrorism, and abide by previous agreements.
In this regard, Israel, like the United States, welcomes those who would make peace even as it fights those who would make war. We are allies united not only by common interests, but by common values as well and we face the threats against freedom--whether from Iran or Islamist terrorists--together. As the Prime Minister said: "Israel has no better friend than America, and America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism."