- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
- Holiday cheer: Airline grants Christmas wishes for 250 unsuspecting passengers
- U.S. vet held in North Korea says statement was coerced
Meeting Netanyahu, Obama tries to tamp down war talk
In a show of solidarity, President Obama sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to reassure him that the U.S. would always be there for Israel, even as he continued to try to tamp down talk of a military strike against Iran.
Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu met in the Oval Office for sensitive talks amid growing concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program and after weeks of speculation that Israel might go it alone and launch a military strike on Iran, which has vowed to wipe Israel off the map.
The president stressed his administration’s “unbreakable” commitment to Israel, noting the two countries’ mutual interest in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He also took a swipe at Republican presidential contenders who have criticized his approach to Iran and accused him of not being as pro-Israel as previous presidents.
“When I say all options are at the table, I mean it,” Mr. Obama said. “Having said that, I know that both the prime minister and I prefer to resolve this diplomatically. We understand the costs of any military action. And I want to assure both the American people and the Israeli people that we are in constant and close consultation.”
Mr. Netanyahu told Mr. Obama that “Israel and America stand together,” but he also seemed to push back a bit on the issue of whether Israel would take military action, noting that his country must be the “master of its fate.”
“Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” Mr. Netanyahu said in brief but passionate comments at the start of the meeting. “After all, that is the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny.”
The two leaders took no questions from reporters and kept their remarks to 10 minutes before aides ushered cameras out the door, likely an effort to keep both leaders, who have had a strained relationship in the past, on script during delicate discussions about Iran.
Unlike their first meeting in May 2009 or their testy interaction last year at a news conference in the Oval Office, Mr. Netanyahu didn’t look surprised or angry at anything the president said during the statements preceding their meeting.
In a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday, Mr. Obama argued that “loose talk” of war by Israelis and pro-Israel hawks in the U.S. was only aiding Iran. He urged Israel and its supporters to allow for more time for sanctions to work before using military action.
Washington fears that a pre-emptive strike from Israel could prompt a fierce reaction from Iran and stoke more turmoil in the Middle East and ensnare the U.S. in another war in the region. There are also concerns that Israel isn’t capable of destroying Iran’s underground nuclear facilities, and thus any attack would only set back the program a few years.
Republican leaders, including presidential contender Newt Gingrich, were more explicit on Monday in expressing support for the Israelis.
The Associated Press reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the U.S. must be prepared to use “overwhelming force” to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.
“If Iran, at any time, begins to enrich uranium to weapons-grade level, or decides to go forward with a weapons program, then the United States will use overwhelming force to end that program,” Mr. McConnell said, according to an advanced text of the speech.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- PRUDEN: Waiting for Nelson Mandela without the tears
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Global economy, the civilizing power of markets and public morals.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow