UPDATE: 10:10 a.m. EDT — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said recent violence in Belgium, Israel, Turkey and San Bernardino, California, are all related. In these cases, Netanyahu said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Tuesday, the terrorists don’t have grievances that can be resolved.
“It’s not as though we could offer them Brussels or Istanbul or California or even the West Bank. That won’t satisfy their grievances, because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination,” Netanyahu said. “Their basic demand is that we should simply disappear. Well, my friends, that’s not going to happen.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was slated to speak Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. EDT at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. While the prime minister scrapped his trip to the event in Washington, D.C., he was expected to deliver his speech via satellite. Watch the live-stream of Netanyahu’s address here.
Netanyahu canceled his trip to Washington, D.C., earlier this month, with his office saying that he would not travel because he did not want to come at the height of the U.S. presidential primaries.
"We were looking forward to hosting the bilateral meeting," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, the Associated Press reported. "We were surprised to first learn via media reports that the prime minister, rather than accept our invitation, opted to cancel his visit."
Israel disputed the White House's claim that the move “surprised” President Barack Obama's administration, claiming Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. had previously said there was a “good chance” that Netanyahu would not make the trip. The decision came amid ongoing tensions between Netanyahu and Obama; the relationship between the two leaders never fully recovered after Obama pursued and then agreed to the Iran nuclear deal, according to the Associated Press.
AIPAC is a self-declared pro-Israel organization that aims to strengthen support for Israel among the U.S. public. It advocates for a pro-Israel agenda in Congress, and is considered to hold a considerable influence in U.S. politics. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as well as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at the conference Monday. More than 15,000 people and two-thirds of Congress typically turn out for the annual conference, according to the event’s website, making it the largest pro-Israel gathering in the U.S.