(Senate - February 15, 2017)

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[Page S1165]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, let me begin by welcoming a true friend 
to the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who 
will be visiting the Capitol later today. Over the years our nations 
have built a strong and enduring relationship--a relationship grounded 
in common values like democracy and individual freedom, a relationship 
guided by a clear-eyed view of the threats that face us.
  This relationship has grown closer and more valuable as terrorism has 
become a constant threat to our homeland--something the Israelis have 
known, literally, for decades and as Iran has sought to expand its 
sphere of influence in an effort to remake the Middle East. I value our 
relationship greatly. I know President Trump does as well.
  Now is the time to strengthen and affirm this important partnership 
as we move on from 8 years of often needless tension, as we turn the 
page on an administration that chose as one of its last actions in 
office to abandon our ally Israel, and in so doing to undermine any 
semblance of a peace process by encouraging the Palestinians to forego 
direct negotiations.
  This afternoon I will reiterate to the Prime Minister my 
determination, which I know many in Congress share, to work with our 
new administration and underline America's commitment to achieving 
peace with the Palestinians through a negotiated settlement in a way 
that protects Israel's vital national security interests.
  Our nations face many common threats. Strengthening this relationship 
makes each of us safer. I hope colleagues will join me in extending a 
warm welcome to Prime Minister Netanyahu on his visit to the Capitol 
later today.