Netanyahu and Obama Stress Israel’s Right to Defend Itself by Itself

March 20, 2013 4:01 pm 0 comments

President Obama signs the guest book at Prime Minister Netanyahus residence.

Israel’s right to “defend itself by itself” was a common theme in the press conference held jointly by U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier today, during the former’s first trip to Israel as U.S. President.

“Your first task is to keep the people of Israel safe,” said Obama to Netanyahu, referring to him by his nickname “Bibi” throughout the duration of the conference. On this point he said, “the Prime Minister and I agree.”

Answering questions about their respective approaches to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, differences once again emerged. “If Iran decides to manufacture a weapon, to go for a weapon that would take them about a year,”Netanyahu said, agreeing with an earlier assessment by the President. “Iran right now is enriching uranium,” he said, adding, “Iran gets to an immunity zone when they get through the enrichment process in our view.” President Obama by contrast stressed only that the United States was opposed to the Iranian completion of an actual nuclear weapon.

Responding to a string of questions from NBC’s Chuck Todd about his track record in dealing with Israel and the lack of progress towards Middle East peace under his administration,  Obama acknowledged that there were a “host of things I could have done that would have been more deft and created better optics.”

Obama pledged to continue extending military aid to Israel for advanced missile defense systems, promising to “take steps to ensure no interruption in funding for Iron Dome.” Obama also pledged to open talks on a schedule for Israel aid for the next ten years, a point that Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed and offered thanks for later on in the conference. “We will help to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge,” promised Obama, “so that Israel can defend itself by itself.”

Obama also spoke about Syrian chemical weapons and the “peace process,” and expressed a wish to prevent Gaza based terror group Hamas from rearming.

Pushed by a reporter from Israel’s Channel 2 about his administration’s record in dealing with the Syrian civil war which has resulted in an acute humanitarian crisis, Obama stressed that “Assad has lost his legitimacy to lead,” and that he shared concern with the Israelis over the possibility of a transfer of chemical weapons to Lebanese based terror group Hezbollah.

Asked about recent reports that Assad’s army had actually already used chemical weapons, crossing a red line that Obama has previously set, he said, “we intend to investigate thoroughly what happened [...] I instructed my teams to find out precisely if chemical weapons were used.”

“Once we establish the facts,” he said, “I have made clear that it is a game changer.”

Obama defended his policy of withholding military intervention in Syria by saying, “it is a world problem,” and “we will continue to work in an international framework.”

“We agreed that a nuclear armed Iran would be a threat to Israel (and) a threat to the world,” Obama said addressing an issue that is a central focus for both the Israeli and U.S. governments, saying however that “our policy is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

“We believe there is still time for diplomatic solution,” added Obama, but in the event that it fails Obama promised, “all options are on the table, we will do what is necessary.”

“My main goal on this trip is to have the opportunity to speak directly to the Israeli people,” said Obama, “and let them know that they have a friend in the united states.”

“To bring this to some sort of clear settlement, a solution that would allow Israelis to feel as if they have broken out of the current isolation they are in, in this region [...] for Palestinians to feel that they too are masters of their own fate [...] that kind of solution we have not yet seen,” Obama concluded.

The press conference wasn’t without its light moments. Remarking on having met Netanyahu’s wife and two sons earlier in the day, Obama said,” I informed the prime minister that they are very good looking young men who clearly got their good looks from their mother.” The comment elicited laughter from the audience and a smile from Netanyahu, who responded, “well, I could say the same of your daughters.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.