The following are excerpts from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the AIPAC Policy Conference on Tuesday, March 6.
The good news is very good, and it’s getting better. The bad news, and that’s the bad news, is that bad things are getting worse, and they’re very bad. And when I talk about that, we have to deal with this challenge. And I’m thinking specifically: What do we do about Iran? The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran. If I have a message for you today, it’s a very simple one: We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran!
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.
And, ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what has happened.
Here is what Iran is doing today.
Darkness is descending on our region. Iran is building an aggressive empire: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, more to come. Now Iran is seeking to build permanent military bases in Syria, seeking to create a land bridge … from Tehran to Tartus on the Mediterranean. And in addition to moving its army, its air force, its navy to Syria, to be able to attack Israel from closer hand, it’s also seeking to develop, to build precision-guided missile factories in Syria and Lebanon against Israel.
I will not let that happen. We will not let that happen. We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran.
Last week, we read in the Book of Esther about an earlier Persian attempt to exterminate our people. They failed then. They’ll fail now. We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons — not now, not in 10 years, not ever.
President Trump has made it clear that his administration will not accept Iran’s aggression in the region. He has made clear that he too will never accept a nuclear-armed Iran. That is the right policy. I salute President Trump on this. And 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.
As we counter Iran’s aggression, we should always remember … the brave people of Iran: their suffering, their hopes, their courage. Women are jailed for removing their hijabs. Students are tortured, tortured and shot for advocating freedom. We stand with those in Iran who stand for freedom. Now I believe that a day will come when this horrible tyranny will disappear, will perish from the earth, and at that point the historic friendship between the people of Israel and the people of Persia will be re-established. Today we have Haman. Tomorrow we’ll have Cyrus and friendship and peace.
My friends, as we work together to confront the bad, there is also potential to advance the good that paradoxically comes from the bad, because most of the states in our region know — they know very well, believe me — that Israel is not their enemy, but their indispensable ally in confronting our common challenges and seizing our common opportunities. That is true for Egypt and Jordan, Israel’s longtime peace partners, but it’s also true for many other Arab countries in the Middle East. Israel remains committed to achieving peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians.
President Trump has made it clear that he is committed to peace. I have made it clear that I am committed to peace. We appreciate the efforts of President Trump’s superb team: Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman. Thank you all. Thank you all for your hard work for peace.
But to get peace, to get peace, President Abbas has to embrace peace and to stop supporting terror. Raise your hands high if you agree with me that President Abbas should stop paying terrorists who murder Jews. You know how much he pays? He pays about $350 million a year to terrorists and their families, each year. That’s about a little less than 10 percent of the total Palestinian budget. That’s an incredible number.
He pays Hakim Awad. Hakim Awad is the terrorist who murdered this beautiful family of Ehud and Ruth Fogel and their three children, including a 3-month-old baby girl, Hadas. So he pays Hakim Awad, this murderer, and over the lifetime of this killer, he will be receiving $2 million.
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.” And I believe President Abbas should find better use for this money — to build roads, schools, hospitals, factories. Build life, don’t pay death. Invest in life. Invest in peace.
Israel hopes that the passage of the Taylor Force Act will make clear to President Abbas that America has zero tolerance for terror.