The most powerful Democrat in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), on Monday night publicly rejected President Barack Obama's decision to use a recent speech to lay out aspects of a potential peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
"The place where negotiating will happen must be at the negotiating table - and nowhere else," Reid declared in a speech to an annual gathering in Washington of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). "Those negotiations . will not happen - and their terms will not be set - through speeches, or in the streets, or in the media."
"No one should set premature parameters about borders, about building, or about anything else".
The lights quickly came up on the vast audience and most in the crowd at the Washington Convention Center rose to their feet and applauded.
"A fair beginning to good-faith talks means that Israel cannot be asked to agree to confines that would compromise its own security, The parties that should lead these negotiations should be the parties at the center of this conflict - and no one else".
Reid also reminded AIPAC that the US would stand against Iran for “our sake, and for Israel’s”.
“We know Iran is pursuing nuclear-weapons capability and the means to launch those weapons into Israel. These same weapons also could reach our allies in Europe,(Iran) threatens the national security of Israel and the United States. We will not sit back and watch it develop nuclear-weapons capability, We will not wait forever, and we will not take any option off the table.
Reid praised Israel and the current US-Israel relationship:
“I stand with Israel, the Congress stands with Israel and America stands with Israel because the values that have cast our histories are one and the same. And our futures will be intertwined even more than our history has been. You know these values: Democracy, opportunity, justice. Strength, security and self-defense. Innovation. Peace. These values fasten the unbreakable bond between the United States and the State of Israel,”