Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared early Tuesday that "Jerusalem is not a settlement." His speech in Washington to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, an influential pro-Israel lobby group, contrasted with an address Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made at the same forum hours earlier.
"The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It's our capital," Netanyahu said. The Israeli leader told AIPAC that all Israeli governments had carried out construction in what he termed the city's "Jewish neighborhoods" since 1967.
"Everyone knows, everyone -- Americans, Europeans, Israelis certainly, Palestinians -- everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement. Therefore, building them in no way precludes the possibility of the two-state solution," he said, according to Reuters.
He also spoke about Iran's nuclear program. "Today, an unprecedented threat to humanity looms large. A radical Iranian regime armed with nuclear weapons could bring an end to the era of nuclear peace the world has enjoyed for the last 65 years," Netanyahu told AIPAC.
"Israel expects the international community to act swiftly and to act decisively to thwart this danger. But we always reserve the right of self-defense."