Instead, Netanyahu basked in the glow of more than 20 standing ovations from the both sides of Congress (the joint session rivaled the AIPAC convention with its outpouring of support for Bibi) and reiterated his long-standing positions:
- Jerusalem is nonnegotiable, Israeli property now and forever (East Jerusalem is not considered by most states, including the US, to be Israeli territory);
- Palestinian negotiators, presumably the Palestine Liberation Organization, must recognize Israel as a "Jewish" state as a precondition for talks (the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in 1993);
- Mr. Abbas must "tear up" the unity government deal he inked recently with Hamas as a precondition for talks (the unity arrangement is, among Palestinians, one of Abbas' most popular accomplishments for years);
- No Palestinian refugees or the descendants of refugees will ever be allowed to return to Israel proper; and the Palestinians must accept a permanent Israeli military presence in their midst as part of an eventual peace settlement.
While many of these things are longstanding Israeli positions, it still stings Palestinian audiences to hear them stated, particularly so forcefully and with such ringing support from the legislature of the most powerful country in the world.