Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with a delegation of US senators led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Intelligence Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz also attended the meeting.
At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:
"We are very much concerned for our common interests by the developments in the Middle East. As we are speaking, Iran is rampaging through Yemen; it is conquering the Middle East.
This is correctly seen by all the countries in the Middle East as a strategic move to dominate the region and therefore we are witnessing something quite unprecedented.
And as Israel and the Arab countries see Iran progressing with its aggression to conquer Yemen and the Bab el-Mandeb straits, talks continue as usual and go on, on a deal that from everything that we hear paves Iran’s way to the bomb.
Will this increase or decrease Iran’s aggression? Will the fact that Iran, while it’s still under sanctions, does not yet have an easy path to the bomb, but is conquering the Middle East in ways that are unprecedented? Will this make their move forward more moderate or will it make it more extreme? I think it’s a no-brainer. But this is happening before our eyes and I think the most important thing is to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a path to the bomb and that Iran’s aggression in Yemen and elsewhere, including around Israel’s borders is stopped."
Prime Minister Netanyahu added:
"Senator McConnell, Mitch, and friends. It’s very good to see you here in Israel. But I’m delighted always to see you and all Representatives from the US Congress and Senators. We have a strong bipartisan base of support for alliance. I spoke the other day with Harry Reid, congratulated him on his years of service and also his years of support for the Israeli-American alliance. This is something that I think cuts across the aisle in the United States. And I believe will continue to do so."
Senator McConnell said:
"Mr. Prime Minister, let me add on our behalf, first, we were all extraordinarily impressed with your address to the joint session a few weeks ago.
I want to assure all Israelis that the US-Israel relationship is still, no matter what’s been said recently, in very, very strong shape on a bipartisan basis in the US Congress.
The group who are here share your concerns about this potential agreement and there are options that the United States has in a wake of an agreement and if there is no agreement. The option if there’s an agreement is a bill that we intend to vote on that enjoys bipartisan support to require that agreement come to Congress for approval.
If there’s no deal, then the view of this group, similar to your own, is that ratcheting up sanctions might be the best direction to take in the wake of a deal that does not come together."
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