TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was greeted with a standing ovation Tuesday morning at pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual convention, where he addressed an audience of 18,000, once again vowing to stop Iran and thanking the U.S. for its steadfast friendship under President Donald Trump.
Netanyahu did not refer to the scandals plaguing him at home.
“The bad things are getting worse, and they’re very bad. The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran. We must stop Iran,” he said.
“When I last spoke here, I warned, tried to warn the world about a nuclear deal that was a threat to the survival of Israel, the security of the region, the peace of the world. I warned that Iran’s regime had repeatedly lied to the international community, that it could not be trusted. I warned that the deal gives Iran a clear path towards developing a nuclear arsenal in little more than a decade. And I warned that by removing Iran’s sanctions, Iran’s regime would not become more moderate and peaceful, but more extreme and belligerent, much more dangerous,” the prime minister stated.
He said, “Darkness is descending on our region. Iran is building an aggressive empire” and listed the countries with an Iranian presence, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
In addition to moving its army, its air force and its navy to Syria, the premier said, Iran is also seeking to build precision guided missile factories in Syria and Lebanon to be used against the Jewish state.
Netanyahu added that he “salutes” Trump for his hardline policy on Iran.
“The president has also made it clear that if the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal are not fixed, he will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions. Israel will be right there by America’s side. And let me tell you, so will other countries in the region,” Netanyahu said.
He stated that apart from countering Iranian aggression, “the brave people of Iran” should be remembered for “their suffering, their hopes, their courage. Women are jailed for removing their hijabs. Students are tortured and shot for advocating freedom. We stand with those in Iran who stand for freedom.”
The prime minister received several standing ovations and rounds of applause, and one women interrupted his address by yelling “I love you!”
Netanyahu also slammed the Palestinian Authority’s pay-for-slay program in which $350 million a year are paid out in rewards to terrorists and their families.
“I have a message for President Abbas: Stop paying terrorists. Because what message does this send to Palestinian children? It says, ‘Murder Jews and get rich,’” he stated.
“I believe President Abbas should find better use for his money, “ he added. “Build roads, schools, hospitals and factories. Invest in life, invest in peace.”
The prime minister also thanked Trump for his December declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“It is especially great to be in America’s capital now that he has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
“Thank you, President Trump, for that historic decision,” he went on. “Thank you for announcing another decision — to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this Independence Day.”