Rep. John Boehner, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said Thursday that he plans to invite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress. Politicians and pundits in Israel are calling Netanyahu's upcoming speech "Bar Ilan 2" and expect it to be a second installment of the speech at Bar Ilan University in which asserted he described his conditions for the establishment of a demilitarized "Palestinian State" - the first time he had publicly stated agreement to the notion of creating such a state.
One hour after Boehner's announcement, Netanyahu told his Likud faction that he will speak to Congress about the Iranian threat and the need for a "secure peace" between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
"It will be a great honor for Congress to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu next month as part of his official visit to the United States,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “America and Israel are the closest of friends and allies, and we look forward to hearing the Prime Minister’s views on how we can continue working together for peace, freedom, and stability.”
Boehner said the visit would be take place in May, when Netanyahu is to visit Washington to address the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
Netanyahu's office has hinted that the Prime Minister intends to use the visit to outline a new "peace proposal" aimed at wooing the Palestinian Authority into the direct talks that it walked out of in September, supposedly because Netanyahu refused to extend a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.
There is reported expectation in the Administration that Netanyahu will announce his willingness to accept President Obama's ideas, according to which the PA state would be established on all of the land that was occupied by Jordan in 1948-1967, and to renew the anti-Jewish building freeze.
Netanyahu's political allies, including former Labor leader Ehud Barak, are said to be pressuring him to accept Obama's demands in order to avert what they warn will be "a diplomatic tsunami" in September. At that time, the United Nation's General Assembly might adopt a resolution unilaterally recognizing a PA state in all of Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu addressed Congress once before, 15 years ago, during his first term as Prime Minister.