WASHINGTON–Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to a pro-Israel group one day before his controversial visit to Capitol Hill, said Monday he feared a proposed nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran would imperil Israel’s security.
“I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them,” Netanyahu said during his speech to American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
President Barack Obama hopes to have a framework in place for a nuclear agreement with Iran by the end of March. Netanyahu says the deal would threaten “the survival of Israel.”
Last month, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, without notifying the president, invited Netanyahu to address Tuesday’s joint session of Congress.
“The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there,” Josh Earnest, Obama’s press secretary, said upon learning of Netanyahu’s acceptance.
This will be the third time Netanyahu has addressed Congress, and he is expected to focus on the Iranian nuclear issue.
“Today we [Israelis] are no longer silent. Today we have a voice,” Netanyahu said Monday. “I plan to use that voice.”
The prime minister emphasized the positive relationship between the U.S. and Israel, and his respect for Obama and his administration. He said that the last thing he wants is for Israel to become a partisan issue.
“The values that unite us are much stronger than the differences that divide us,” he said.
The president is not expected to meet with Netanyahu during his visit.