- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top advisers to President Obama said Sunday the relationship between the United States and Israel remains strong despite sometimes blunt talk and disagreements between the two countries.

David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior political adviser, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Israel is a close and valued friend of the United States. He said that there’s an unshakable bond but that sometimes blunt talk is part of friendship.

Mr. Axelrod said the peace process is essential to Israel’s security and the administration is doing all it can to move that process forward.

Meanwhile, senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett told ABC’s “This Week” that friends like Israel and the United States can disagree without incurring damage. She says what’s important is to be able to have frank conversations and move forward.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the past week that he thought some progress had been made in defusing an unusually public spat with the United States over new Israeli housing in east Jerusalem.

Ms. Jarrett said Mr. Netanyahu should have no doubt about Mr. Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security.

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