Netanyahu Doesn't Back Down in Speech to Congress
Israeli PM gets very warm welcome on Capitol Hill
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2011 1:24 PM CDT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill, May 24, 2011. Behind him sit Joe Biden and John Boehner.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu got a warm welcome on Capitol Hill today, parading into a joint session of Congress with a gaggle of supportive lawmakers and earning applause after nearly every line. He emphasized the positive in US-Israeli relations—despite his recent flap with President Obama—praised the “courageous Arab protesters” across the Middle East, and called for a “far-reaching compromise” with the Palestinians, the New York Times reports.

But Netanyahu didn’t back down from his insistence that Israel could not return to its pre-1967 borders, and said he refused to negotiate with Hamas, which he called “a Palestinian version of al-Qaeda.” He also said Palestinians would have to stay outside Israel’s borders, with only a limited right of return. But he said Israel was willing to give back some land where Israelis have settled. “I am willing to make painful compromises,” he said.