Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a much-anticipated foreign policy speech on Sunday evening, billed as a response to U.S. President Barack Obama's address at Cairo University 10 days earlier.
Obama's message in Cairo had been clear: "America will align our policies with those who pursue peace." So it was no coincidence that Netanyahu opened his speech by declaring, "Peace was always the desire of our people," and pledging his full support for Obama's efforts "to bring about a new era of reconciliation in our region." Also echoing Obama's repeated emphasis on the importance of speaking the truth, Netanyahu talked about "honest and forthright" answers and the need "to be firmly connected to reality, to the truth."
Much of what Netanyahu said was indeed a realistic and truthful representation of Israeli mainstream views. But already in the first hours after the speech, it became clear that neither Israel's far right nor its fringe left liked what they heard, while the Palestinians were quick to express "outrage and shock."