Prime Minister Netanyahu was well-deserving of the warm reception he received in Congress. He made a powerful case for Israel's unique relationship with the U.S. as the only democracy and stable American ally in a turbulent region.
He spoke compellingly about Israel's need for security and the growing dangers and uncertainties in the Middle East, and he reiterated Israel's commitment to negotiating a lasting peace with the Palestinians with the goal of two states for two peoples.
Most importantly, he made clear that at the heart of the conflict, as it has been, is Palestinian refusal to accept the existence of a Jewish state. This, he said, is reflected in their insistence on the so-called "right of return" of refugees and the teaching of hatred in their schools.
The prime minister and the president shared many principles in common in their speeches of recent days. Each of them expressed the need to accept Israel as a Jewish state, hold negotiations without preconditions, and abandon the effort to unilaterally declare Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. In addition, both declared that the presence of Hamas in a Palestinian government would be a major obstacle to peace and that any solution would not involve a return to the 1967 lines.
It is now time for the Palestinians to begin to address these various concerns in order to give peace a chance.