Netanyahu to Make Speeches to Americans

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Audio Transcript:

Lisa Mullins: Tonight, Israel's prime minister continues his visit to Washington with a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. And tomorrow Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address both houses of the U.S. Congress. The two speeches follow Netanyahu's rejection last week of President Obama's call for using Israel's 1967 borders as the basis for Mideast peace negotiations. Jane Eisner is editor and chief of The Forward, a weekly newspaper for Jewish-Americans. She's now in New York and she says it isn't quite clear what the Israeli leader is going to be saying.

Jane Eisner: I think that there have been indications until the last couple of days that he was going to present a rather hard line on behalf of Israel. I don't really know if that will have changed in response to the president's speech yesterday at AIPAC and the warm reception he seemed to get. So, I don't know whether that's going to influence what the prime minister will say to that same group this evening, and say to Congress tomorrow.

Mullins: Of course, it's always helpful to look at what Netanyahu is facing back home. I wonder right now if his domestic political agenda at home and the pressure that he's getting will make him want to promote peace and want to promote Obama's framework for peace.

Eisner: Well, I would hope so, but I think that it will be very difficult for him in the current government that he has created. He has a very right wing foreign minister who totally agrees with his stand on this, and frankly, a pretty weak opposition. And so it will take a great deal of courage on his part to take this leap forward and to shunt aside the concerns of many in his coalition. Nonetheless, we've known for years now that Israeli public opinion is by a large and substantial majority in favor of two states. The contours of that still need to be negotiated, but I think that working to make this leap, I suspect that he'd have the public behind him.

Mullins: All right, thank you, Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of The Forward.

Eisner: You're welcome. It's my pleasure.

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