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5 Maart 2012 - Obama en Netanyahu ontmoet oor Iran - geskiedenis

5 Maart 2012 - Obama en Netanyahu ontmoet oor Iran - geskiedenis

5 Maart 2012- Obama en Netanyahu ontmoet oor Iran

Ek is huiwerig om vanaand se rubriek te skryf. Ek het deur die jare probeer om my lesers in te lig met feite en 'n paar opmerkings. Vanaand wil ek nie op die gebied van fiksie ingaan nie. Aangesien ek nie by die aangesig-tot-aangesig-ontmoeting tussen Obama en Netanyahu was nie, het ek geen idee wat werklik gebeur het nie. Aangesien die vergadering wel plaasgevind het, sal ek aan die ander kant nie die bietjie deel wat ek dink ek deel nie, asook wat ek kan bespiegel.

Eerstens is die opvoering van die vergadering gedoen om die moontlikheid om te veel gemengde boodskappe te stuur, te beperk. Die gesamentlike verklaring is by die opening van die vergadering afgelewer, eerder as aan die einde. In sy verklaring herhaal Obama kortliks wat hy by AIPAC gesê het (die volledige teks van gister se toespraak is hier). Dit was 'n taai verklaring oor Iran, waar Obama weer die moontlikheid van Amerikaanse militêre optrede teen Iran na vore gebring het, terwyl hy steeds verklaar dat daar nog tyd is vir diplomasie. Netanyahu het sy opmerkings gefokus op die feit dat Israel die baas oor sy eie lot moet bly. Obama lyk nie so ontevrede met wat Netanyahu sê nie, wat my laat glo dat die opmerkings vooraf gekoördineer is.

U kan die transkripsies van die opmerkings lees en self oordeel.

Beide Israeliese en Amerikaanse bronne berig dat die vergadering baie goed was. Die Amerikaners lyk tevrede dat Netanyahu bereid is om diplomasie meer tyd te gee. Israeliete lyk bly dat Obama bereid is om die sanksies nog verder te verskerp, en aanvaar dat as sanksies nie werk nie, Israel die reg het om homself te verdedig.

Daar is op die laaste dag gepraat oor die Fatma wat deur Ayatollah Kameni uitgereik is, waarin gesê word dat kernwapens nie deur Moslems gebruik kan word nie. Is dit 'n afrit vir die Iraniërs?


Obama en Netanyahu verskil oor Iran, in die openbaar en privaat

Israeliese premier Benjamin Netanyahu en president Barack Obama vergader in die Ovale Kantoor van die Withuis om oor Iran en ander kwessies te praat, 5 Maart 2012. (Ron Kampeas)

President Obama en die Israeliese premier Benjamin Netanyahu stem saam, ten minste in beginsel: Hou die gesprek oor wat u moet doen oor Iran agter geslote deure. Maar as hulle eers agter die deure is, kan hulle nie saamstem nie - en dit lyk nie asof hulle hul meningsverskille in die openbaar bring nie.

Binne 'n paar uur na 'n lang en privaat Oval Office-vergadering Maandag, wat hulp aan albei leiers gesê het dat dit produktief was, het Netanyahu voorgestel dat Obama se op sanksies gefokusde benadering tot Iran se kernprogram nie resultate lewer nie. Die volgende dag waarsku Obama dat die Verenigde State gevolge sal hê as Israel Iran voortydig tref.

Dit lyk asof daar ook toegewings van beide kante was.

Netanyahu het aan Obama en die kongresleiers gesê dat hy nog nie besluit het om Iran te tref nie. En Obama se sekretaris van verdediging, Leon Panetta, het miskien in sy toespraak Dinsdag die mees eksplisiete waarskuwing van moontlike Amerikaanse militêre optrede teen Iran aan die Amerikaanse Israel Public Committee Committee se jaarlikse beleidskonferensie.

'Militêre optrede is die laaste alternatief as alles misluk,' het hy gesê op die laaste dag van die konferensie in 'n oggendrede wat daarop gemik was om die 13 000 aktiviste aan te moedig voordat hulle Capitol Hill besoek het om wetgewers te besoek. 'Maar maak geen fout nie; as alles misluk, sal ons optree.'

Die formulering is meer skerp as die 'no-options-off-the-table' taal wat die kookplaat vir die Obama- en Bush-administrasies was.

Baie van Panetta se toespraak was blykbaar 'n poging om Netanyahu te oorreed om nouer met die Verenigde State te koördineer.

"Samewerking is noodsaaklik om die uitdagings van die 21ste eeu die hoof te bied," het Panetta gesê. 'Die Verenigde State moet altyd die onwankelbare vertroue van ons bondgenoot Israel hê. Ons is sterker as ons as een optree. ”

Hoogste amptenare van die Obama -administrasie het probeer om Netanyahu te oortuig dat diplomatieke opsies nog nie uitgeput is in die poging om Iran van sy vermeende kernwapenprogram af te staan ​​nie.

Netanyahu lyk nie so gretig om saam te werk aan sy hard toespraak Maandagaand wat die AIPAC-skare herhaaldelik op die been gebring het vir 'n toejuiging nie. Hy beklemtoon Israel se reg om op te tree en spreek ongeduld uit oor die tempo van pogings om druk op Iran uit te oefen.

"Ek waardeer president Obama se onlangse pogings om nog strenger sanksies teen Iran op te lê, en hierdie sanksies benadeel die ekonomie van Iran, maar ongelukkig gaan Iran se kernprogram steeds voort," het Netanyahu gesê. 'Ons het gewag dat diplomasie werk, ons het gewag dat sanksies werk, niemand van ons kan dit bekostig om veel langer te wag nie. As premier van Israel, sal ek my volk nooit in die skaduwee van uitwissing laat lewe nie. ”

In reaksie op kommentators wat beweer dat militêre optrede teen Iran ondoeltreffend sou wees of 'n gewelddadige reaksie sou veroorsaak, het Netanyahu gesê: "Ek het al hierdie argumente gehoor." Daarna het hy dramaties die korrespondensie van 1944 gehou tussen die Wêreld -Joodse Kongres en die Amerikaanse Oorlogsdepartement waarin laasgenoemde die pleidooi van die WJC om Auschwitz en die spoorweë na die doodskamp te bombardeer, verwerp.

'2012 is nie 1944 nie; die Amerikaanse regering is vandag anders. U het dit gister in die toespraak van president Obama gehoor, 'het hy gesê. 'Maar hier is my punt: die Joodse volk is ook vandag anders. Ons het 'n eie staat, en die doel van 'n Joodse staat is om Joodse lewens te verdedig en ons toekoms te beveilig. Nooit weer nie."

Die volgende dag, op 'n vraag op 'n nuuskonferensie, het Obama gesê: "Israel is 'n soewereine nasie wat sy eie besluite moet neem oor hoe om sy veiligheid die beste te bewaar," het hy gesê. "En soos ek die afgelope paar dae gesê het, is ek baie bewus van die historiese presedente wat enige premier van Israel weeg wanneer hulle dink aan die moontlike bedreigings vir Israel en die Joodse vaderland."

Maar dan voeg hy by: 'Die argument wat ons aan die Israeli's gemaak het, is dat ons 'n ongekende verbintenis tot hul veiligheid aangegaan het. Daar is 'n onbreekbare band tussen ons twee lande, maar een van die funksies van vriende is om seker te maak dat ons eerlike en onvervulde advies gee oor wat die beste benadering is om 'n gemeenskaplike doel te bereik, veral een waarin ons 'n belang het . Dit is nie net 'n kwessie van Israeliese belange nie, dit is 'n kwessie van Amerikaanse belange. Dit is ook nie net 'n kwessie van gevolge vir Israel as daar voortydig opgetree word nie. Daar is ook gevolge vir die Verenigde State. ”

Obama het teruggekeer na Republikeinse kritici wat hom daarvan beskuldig het dat hy dit nie aan Iran duidelik gemaak het nie dat 'n militêre aanval sou ontstaan ​​as gevolg van die versuim om van sy vermoedelike kernprogram af te bly.

'U weet, as ek Walter Reed besoek', die militêre hospitaal in Washington, 'as ek 'n brief onderteken aan gesinne wat, wie se geliefdes nie huis toe gekom het nie, word ek daaraan herinner dat dit 'n koste is. Maar ons dink daaroor na. Ons speel nie politiek daarmee nie. As ons in die verlede gedoen het - as ons nie daaraan gedink het nie en dit in die politiek verpak is, maak ons ​​foute. En gewoonlik is dit nie die mense wat opdaag wat die prys betaal nie. Dit is hierdie ongelooflike mans en vroue in uniform en hul gesinne wat die prys betaal. ”

Obama het volgehou dat daar nog tyd is vir diplomasie om te werk, en het in 'n subtiele gibbel by Netanyahu gesê dat Israel se intelligensie -instelling dit eens het.

'Ek glo dat ons 'n geleentheidskans het waar dit steeds diplomaties opgelos kan word,' het hy gesê. 'Dit is nie net my siening nie - dit is die mening van ons beste intelligensie -amptenare, dit is die mening van die beste Israeliese intelligensie -amptenare.'

Dit lyk asof albei leiers vasgevang was in die wil om hul saak te stel en sake agter geslote deure te hou. Netanyahu het sy toespraak Maandagaand op die beleidskonferensie van AIPAC begin deur te belowe: 'Ek gaan nie met u praat oor wat Israel gaan doen of nie - ek praat nooit daaroor nie.'

'N Dag vroeër in sy AIPAC -toespraak kritiseer Obama wat hy noem "los praatjies oor oorlog".

'Die afgelope paar weke het sulke gesprekke slegs die Iranse regering bevoordeel deur die olieprys te verhoog, waarvan hulle afhanklik is om hul kernprogram te befonds,' het hy gesê. 'Ter wille van Israel se veiligheid, die veiligheid van Amerika en die vrede en veiligheid van die wêreld, is dit nou nie die tyd om te blaas nie.'

Die drie Republikeinse presidentskandidate wat AIPAC Dinsdag toegespreek het, het die geleentheid gebruik om Obama se Iran -beleid te beoog en die president daarvan beskuldig dat hy sag en huiwerig is oor die kwessie.

"Ek sal die huidige beleid van uitstel beëindig," het Mitt Romney, die voormalige goewerneur van Massachusetts, via satelliet gesê.

Newt Gingrich, die voormalige speaker van die Huis van Verteenwoordigers wat ook via satelliet gepraat het, het gesê dat hy as president nie 'n waarskuwing van Israel sou verwag as hy sou besluit om Iran te tref nie.

Rick Santorum, die voormalige VS. senator wat persoonlik by die konferensie was, het gesê dat die verskille tussen die Verenigde State en Israel oor wat 'n staking moet veroorsaak, Iran bemoedig. Hy het Obama daarvan beskuldig dat hy “sy rug gedraai het” na Israel.

Op die nuuskonferensie van die president, wat veronderstel was om oor die behuisingskrisis te gaan, het Obama hom teruggehou teen 'n vals praatjie van sy Republikeinse kritici.

'As ek die toevalligheid sien waarmee sommige van hierdie mense oor oorlog praat, word ek herinner aan die koste verbonde aan oorlog,' het hy gesê. 'Ek word herinner aan die besluit wat ek moet neem om ons jong mans en vroue in die stryd te stuur, en die gevolge wat dit op hul lewens het, die impak wat dit op ons nasionale veiligheid het, die impak wat dit op ons ekonomie het . Dit is nie 'n speletjie nie, en daar is niks terloops daaraan nie. "


Rooi lyne, sperdatums en eindspele: Netanyahu wys Iran Heat op op Obama

Die probleem van die Israeliese premier is nie die gebrek aan 'n rooi streep nie. Die Amerikaanse een is nie dieselfde as syne nie.

Die Israeliese premier Benjamin Netanyahu luister terwyl president Barack Obama tydens hul vergadering in die Oval Office van die Withuis in Washington, 5 Maart 2012, praat.

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Opgedateer: 11 September 2012, 22:00

Die frustrasie van Benjamin Netanyahu oor die Obama -administrasie en die hantering van die kernkwessie in Iran sal waarskynlik nie binnekort verdwyn word nie, met die Israeliese dagblad Haaretz beweer Dinsdag dat die Withuis die Israeliese premier se versoek om 'n vergadering tydens die VN se Algemene Vergadering in New York later hierdie maand afgewys het. Die Withuis het die verslag onmiddellik ontken, met woordvoerder van die nasionale veiligheid, Tommy Vietor, wat verduidelik dat Netanyahu in New York sal aankom nadat Obama vertrek het. Hulle is terselfdertyd nie in die stad nie, het Vietor in 'n e -pos geskryf. Maar die president en die premier is gereeld in kontak en die premier sal tydens sy besoek met ander senior amptenare, insluitend die minister van buitelandse sake, Hillary, Clinton vergader. ” Vietor het later 'n e -pos gestuur: ' nooit 'n versoek om 'n ontmoeting tussen die premier en president in Washington nie, en hierdie versoek is ook nooit geweier nie. " Maar Israeliese media, aangemoedig deur naamlose Israeliese amptenare, interpreteer die besluit as 'n snuffel in 'n week waarin Netanyahu geen geheim van sy ontsteltenis met die Obama -administrasie gemaak het nie.

Die Eerste Minister het Dinsdag 'n dun, vermomde breë zijde teen die Administrasie afgevuur en aan verslaggewers in Jerusalem gesê, diegene in die internasionale gemeenskap wat weier om 'n rooi streep te plaas voordat Iran nie die morele reg het om 'n rooi lig voor Israel te plaas nie . ” Dit was in reaksie op Washington se afkeuring van die Israeliese leier se eis dat die VSA in die openbaar 'n rooi lyn vir Iran se kernwerk verklaar, wat 'n Amerikaanse militêre reaksie sou veroorsaak as dit gekruis word. Die Israeli's het ook geëis dat die VSA 'n spertyd stel vir Iran om aan Westerse eise te voldoen. Maar die hele Westerse bondgenote van Israel het streng waarskuwings gelewer teen 'n militêre aanval, wat ook teenstaan ​​deur die militêre en veiligheidshoofde van Israel en 'n meerderheid van die ondervraagde publiek. As hy die administrasie nie kon dwing om sy terme en tydlyn te aanvaar nie, word Netanyahu beperk tot die speel van Cassandra.

Clinton het Israelities ontsteld geraak toe sy Maandag 'n onderhoud met Bloomberg TV uiteensit oor die standpunt van die administrasie oor Iran. “Ons stel nie sperdatums nie, en sy het gesê. Ons kyk baie noukeurig na wat hulle doen, want dit het altyd meer gegaan oor hul optrede. Ons is daarvan oortuig dat ons meer tyd het om op hierdie sanksies te fokus, om alles in ons vermoë te doen om Iran tot 'n goeie trou onderhandeling te bring. sê duidelik dat diplomasie en sanksies nie gewerk het nie. Hulle het die Iraanse ekonomie getref, maar hulle het die Iraanse kernprojek nie gestaak nie. ”

Netanyahu is beslis korrek dat die pyn van sanksies Iran nie gekeer het om sy kernwerk voort te sit in stryd met die resolusies van die VN se Veiligheidsraad nie, en dit het Teheran ook nie aangespoor om toegee aan Westerse eise aan die onderhandelingstafel nie. Terselfdertyd is die Amerikaanse beoordeling egter dat terwyl Iran steeds voortgaan met die opbou van kerninfrastruktuur wat hom die vermoë sal gee om 'n wapen te bou, het Teheran nog nie besluit om 'n bom te bou nie. (Baie ontleders vermoed dat Iran se huidige doelwit die kernvertraging is wat lande soos Japan geniet, wat binne enkele maande kernwapens kan bou as hulle dit strategies nodig sou ag.) Leon Panetta, minister van verdediging, het gesê CBS het Dinsdag gesê dat as Iran die strategiese besluit neem, op die oomblik 'n bietjie meer as 'n jaar nodig sou wees om 'n bom te bou. Ons dink dat ons die geleentheid sal kry, sodra ons weet dat hulle die besluit geneem het om die nodige stappe te neem om hulle te stop, het Panetta gesê. En by 'n Iraanse stap om kernmateriaal te wapen, het die Obama -administrasie sy eie rooi streep getrek. Die perssekretaris van die Withuis, Jay Carney, het Maandag herhaal dat die president daartoe verbind is om te verhoed dat Iran 'n kernwapen bekom, en hy sal elke instrument in die arsenaal van Amerikaanse mag gebruik om die doel te bereik. ”

Die werklike probleem vir Netanyahu is nie dat Obama nie 'n rooi lyn gesê het nie, dat die rooi lyn van Obama nie dieselfde is as die rooi lyn van Israel nie. “ As Iran weet dat daar geen rooi lyn is nie, as Iran weet dat daar geen sperdatum is nie, wat sal dit doen? ” het Netanyahu Dinsdag gesê. “ Presies wat dit doen. Dit gaan voort, sonder enige inmenging, in die rigting van die verkryging van kernwapenvermoë en van daaruit kernbomme. ”

Die rooi lyn van Netanyahu is nie net 'n kernwapen van Iran nie, maar Iran het ook die vermoë om 'n kapasiteit te bou wat Teheran waarskynlik reeds het, maar het nog nie begin gebruik nie. Daarom dring Israel daarop aan dat die enigste aanvaarbare uitkoms van 'n diplomatieke proses die volledige aftakeling en versending van die verrykingsinfrastruktuur van Iran en die voorraad splitsbare materiaal is. Die vooruitsigte vir so 'n uitkoms bly ver, selfs al het Iran op verskillende tye aangedui dat hy bereid is om perke te onderhandel oor sy kernwerk.

Die Obama -administrasie het tot dusver nie sy siening van 'n aanvaarbare diplomatieke uitkoms uiteengesit as die Iraniërs bereid sou wees om 'n kompromie aan te gaan nie, en vermy die vraag of dit die Israeliese siening deel dat Iran nie toegelaat kan word om uraan te verryk nie, selfs as deel van 'n vreedsame energieprogram. En die gebrek aan vordering in diplomasie beteken dat dit dit nie hoef te doen nie. Maar soos dit tans lyk, kan Iran denkbaar voortgaan om te doen wat hy tans doen sonder om 'n Amerikaanse rooi lyn te struikel, sy kernvermoë geleidelik uit te brei, maar versigtig wees om stappe te vermy wat as 'n beweging na die bou van wapens beskou kan word. Dit is die feit dat Iran se huidige toenemende uitbreiding van sy vermoëns strenger sanksies sal meebring, maar nie 'n Amerikaanse militêre aanval nie, dat Netanyahu blykbaar tevergeefs probeer omkeer, meestal deur 'n bedreiging van 'n eensydige weermag staak.

In 'n poging om die status quo te herstel, het die Withuis Dinsdagaand 'n verklaring uitgereik waarin hy verklaar: 'President Obama het vanaand 'n uur lank met premier Netanyahu gepraat as deel van hul voortgesette konsultasies. Die twee leiers bespreek die bedreiging van die kernprogram van Iran en ons noue samewerking oor Iran en ander veiligheidskwessies. President Obama en premier Netanyahu het herbevestig dat hulle verenig is in hul vasbeslotenheid om Iran te verhinder om 'n kernwapen te bekom, en het ingestem om voort te gaan met hul noue konsultasies. ”


Op die beraad van Obama-Netanyahu het die versekering uitgeruil, maar daar is steeds verskille

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Barack Obama en premier Benjamin Netanyahu het moontlik nie hul verskille oor die hantering van Iran oorbrug nie, maar elkeen het die ander 'n mate van gerusstelling gegee.

In sy toespraak aan die Amerikaanse Israel -komitee vir openbare aangeleenthede het Obama standpunt gehou en wou hy nie nuwe Amerikaanse rooi strepe oor die Iraanse kernkwessie verwoord nie en sterk afgeraai teen 'los praatjies oor oorlog'. Tog verdien hy die lof van die premier en die pro-Israeliese lobby met sy erkenning dat Israel homself moet kan verdedig, en sy gelofte dat Amerika Israel se rug het.

Terwyl Obama diplomasie as 'n voortgesette opsie in openbare en private kommentaar beklemtoon, het Netanyahu tydens die privaat vergadering van die twee leiers aangedui dat hy glo dat sanksies uitgeput is. Selfs as die premier nie die president se geduld deel nie, het hy ook aan Obama gesê dat daar nog geen Israeliese besluit is om Iran aan te val nie, volgens Israeliese persberigte.

"Ons glo dat daar nog 'n venster is wat 'n diplomatieke oplossing vir hierdie kwessie moontlik maak, maar uiteindelik moet die regime van Iraniërs 'n besluit neem om in daardie rigting te beweeg, 'n besluit wat hulle tot dusver nie geneem het nie," het Obama het Maandagoggend in 'n foto-opname van die ovaalkantoor gesê voor die leiers se twee uur lange vergadering, gevolg deur wat hulpverleners beskryf as 'n 'uitgebreide' middagete.

Hy voeg by en kyk na Netanyahu: 'Ek weet dat ek en die premier dit verkies om diplomaties op te los. Ons verstaan ​​die koste van enige militêre aksie. ”

Netanyahu erken nie die president se pleidooi vir diplomasie om homself uit te speel nie, maar beklemtoon eerder die soewereine reg van Israel om op te tree en merk op dat Obama dieselfde dag in die toespraak van AIPAC se jaarlikse beleidsforum dieselfde punt gemaak het.

'Ek dink dat daar bo en behalwe dit twee beginsels is, 'n jarelange beginsel van die Amerikaanse beleid wat u gister in u toespraak herhaal het en dat Israel altyd in staat moet wees om homself te verdedig teen enige bedreiging en dat dit Israel en Israel het die reg, die soewereine reg om sy eie besluite te neem, ”het Netanyahu gesê.

'Ek glo dat u dit waardeer, meneer die president, dat Israel die reg moet behou om homself te verdedig. En dit is immers die einste doel van die Joodse staat om die Joodse volk beheer oor ons lot te herstel, ”het hy voortgegaan. 'En daarom is my grootste verantwoordelikheid as premier van Israel om te verseker dat Israel die meester van sy lot bly.'

Die erkenning dat Israel die reg het om te staak in sy eie selfverdediging, was die element wat die leiers van AIPAC gesoek het, en Obama het die grootste staande toejuiging van die dag gekry toe hy aan die konferensie gesê het: 'Israel moet altyd die vermoë hê om homself op sigself te verdedig teen enige bedreiging. ”

'N Ander skare was die belofte van die president dat "die Verenigde State altyd Israel se rug sal hê as dit oor Israel se veiligheid kom."

Hoe om met Iran om te gaan, het 'n groot deel van die ontmoeting tussen die leiers oorheers. As om Netanyahu se boodskap te beklemtoon oor sy vasberadenheid om die Iraanse regime te konfronteer, was sy geskenk aan Obama 'n afskrif van die Megillah, die verhaal van die Persiese Jode se bloedige triomf oor Haman.

'N Israeliese bron het gesê dat die vergadering die ooreenkoms tussen die Netanyahu- en Obama -regerings op vier gebiede beklemtoon: 'n vasbeslotenheid om 'n Iraanse kernwapen te voorkom dat alle opsies op die tafel is, dat insluiting nie 'n opsie is dat Israel 'n soewereine staat is wat die reg het om verdedig homself.

In sy eie toespraak op die konferensie Maandagoggend en#8212 gelewer toe Obama en Netanyahu vergader het, het Howard Kohr, uitvoerende direkteur van AIPAC, duidelik gemaak dat die vierde boodskap die een was wat AIPAC gesoek het.

'Dit is die konteks waarin Israel haar optrede moet besluit,' het hy gesê. 'As sy haar lot in die hande kan gee van enigiemand, selfs haar naaste bondgenoot, Amerika —, of as sy 'n staking moet voer om Iran uit te stel om 'n atoombom te bekom. Israel is geskep om te verseker dat die Joodse volk nooit hul lot in die hande van ander hoef te plaas nie. ”

Kohr stoot ook sterk terug teen diegene wat sê dat Obama nie genoeg gedoen het om Iran te konfronteer nie.

'President Obama en sy administrasie word geprys,' het hy gesê. 'Hulle het meer as enige ander administrasie, meer as enige ander land, 'n ongekende druk op Teheran gebring deur die gebruik van bytende ekonomiese sanksies. Hulle het 'n breë koalisie opgestel om die Iraanse regime te isoleer, en hulle het die nodige militêre bates na die golf en na die bure van Iran gebring om aan te dui dat Amerika die mag het om op te tree. "

Kohr het demokrate herhaal in hul pleidooie om nie van Iran se beleid 'n partydige kwessie te maak nie. Republikeinse salvo's teen Obama het sy ondersteuners gefrustreer, wat sê dat die kritiek nie die vordering wat hy gemaak het met die isolasie van Iran in ag neem nie.

Tydens 'n veldtog in Georgië op Sondag, het die president van die GOP, Mitt Romney, gesê dat Obama "nie kon kommunikeer dat militêre opsies op die tafel is nie."

Die president en administrasie -amptenare het herhaaldelik beklemtoon dat alle opsies op die tafel is, selfs al vra hulle om sanksies tyd te gee om te werk. In sy toespraak op Sondag aan AIPAC het Obama gesê dat daar 'te veel lospraat van oorlog' is, en aangevoer dat 'dit nou nie die tyd is om te blaas nie'.


Obama druk op Netanyahu om die aanvalle teen Iran te weerstaan

WASHINGTON - Met Israel wat gewaarsku het oor 'n moontlike militêre aanval op Iran se kernfasiliteite, het president Obama Maandag by die Withuis 'n beroep op premier Benjamin Netanyahu gedoen om diplomasie en ekonomiese sanksies 'n kans te gee om te werk voordat hy tot militêre optrede gaan.

Die vergadering, gehou in 'n gelaaide atmosfeer van die verkiesingsjaarspolitiek en 'n verdiepende konfrontasie met Teheran, was nietemin 'vriendelik, reguit en ernstig', het 'n amptenaar van die Withuis gesê. Maar dit het nie die basiese verskille tussen die twee leiers opgelos oor die hantering van die Iraanse bedreiging nie.

Netanyahu, het die amptenaar gesê, het herhaal dat Israel nie 'n besluit geneem het oor die aanval op Iran nie, maar hy het diepe skeptisisme uitgespreek dat internasionale druk die leiers van Iran sal oorreed om die ontwikkeling van kernwapens te laat vaar. Volgens die amptenaar het mnr. Netanyahu aangevoer dat die Weste nie die gesprekke met Iran moet heropen voordat hulle ingestem het tot 'n verifieerbare opskorting van sy aktiwiteite vir uraanverryking nie - 'n voorwaarde wat die Withuis sê sal onderhandel voordat hulle begin.

Die Amerikaanse komitee vir openbare sake, die Amerikaanse Israel-komitee vir openbare sake, het later Maandag met 'n invloedryke pro-Israeliese lobbygroep gesê: 'Ons het gewag dat diplomasie werk, en ons het gewag dat sanksies werk, wat niemand van ons kan bekostig om veel langer te wag nie. ”

Obama, het die amptenaar gesê, het tydens hul Oval Office -vergadering volgehou dat die naderende oliesanksies van die Europese Unie en die swartlys van Iran se sentrale bank Teheran nog kan dwing om na die onderhandelingstafel terug te keer - nie noodwendig die uitskakeling van die kernbedreiging nie, maar om die rooster terug te dring vir die ontwikkeling van 'n wapen.

'Ons glo dat daar nog 'n venster is wat 'n diplomatieke oplossing vir hierdie kwessie moontlik maak,' het die president gesê terwyl Netanyahu langs hom gesit het voor die aanvang van hul drie uur se gesprekke.

Beeld

Beide leiers het ingestem om die vurige debat oor Iran in hul lande te probeer bekamp, ​​het amptenare gesê. Obama het gesê dat die oorlogspraatjies oliepryse laat styg en die effek van die sanksies op Iran ondermyn. Mnr. Netanyahu het frustrasie uitgespreek dat verklarings van Amerikaanse amptenare oor die negatiewe gevolge van militêre optrede 'n boodskap van swakheid na Teheran kan stuur.

Om 'n afgemete toon te hou, kan egter uitdagend wees. Tydens die Aipac -konferensie wat in Washington aan die gang is, het sprekers vurige oproepe gelewer tot strenger optrede teen Iran.

Die leier van die senaat, Mitch McConnell, gebruik sy toespraak om voorwaardes uiteen te sit waaronder hy 'n wetsontwerp in die senaat sou instel wat die gebruik van militêre mag teen Iran magtig. 'Ons het nou die punt bereik dat die beleid van die huidige administrasie, hoe goed ook bedoel, eenvoudig nie genoeg is nie,' het die Republikeinse in Kentucky gesê. 'N Amptenaar van Aipac het opgemerk dat hierdie idee by meneer McConnell ontstaan ​​het, nie by Aipac nie.

Toe mnr. Obama Sondag met die groep praat, verwoord hy baie temas wat hy en mnr. Netanyahu die volgende dag in hul vergadering bespreek het. Ondanks hul soms verregaande verhouding oor die vredesproses in die Midde -Ooste, het Israeliese en Amerikaanse amptenare gesê dat die twee leiers in ooreenstemming is met die noodsaaklikheid om te keer dat Iran by die geledere van kernstate aansluit.

'My beleid hier is nie 'n beperking nie,' het mnr. Obama voor die vergadering Maandag gesê. 'My beleid is om te voorkom dat Iran kernwapens bekom.' Hy het bygevoeg: 'As ek sê dat alle opsies op die tafel is, bedoel ek dit.'

Netanyahu, wat opgemerk het dat die leiers van Iran die Verenigde State as die 'Groot Satan' en Israel as die 'Klein Satan' verneder, het gesê dat daar geen verskil tussen die twee lande is nie. 'Ons is u, en u is ons', het hy gesê. "Ons is saam."

Die premier bedank mnr Obama vir die bevestiging in sy toespraak op Sondag dat "Israel wat die veiligheid betref, die soewereine reg het om sy eie besluite te neem."

'N Amerikaanse amptenaar het gesê dat die president die persepsie probeer vermy dat hy die Israeliese leier in die openbaar onder druk plaas, hoewel ondersteuners van Israel dit vertolk as 'n teken dat die Verenigde State die reg van Israel erken om sy eie besluit oor militêre optrede te neem. Of Israel inderdaad 'n effektiewe aanval op Iran kan uitvoer sonder Amerikaanse steun, is onduidelik.

"My hoogste verantwoordelikheid as premier van Israel is om te verseker dat Israel die meester van sy lot bly," het mnr. Netanyahu gesê.

Israeliese amptenare het gesê hulle is verheug oor die president se uitdruklike verwysing na militêre mag as 'n opsie, sy verwerping van 'n inperkingbeleid en sy herbevestiging van Israel se reg om besluite te neem oor sy nasionale veiligheid.

Tog, onder die tafel van skouer-tot-skouer solidariteit, was die verskille in hul sienings te sien in hul verklarings voor die vergadering. Mnr. Netanyahu het niks gesê oor diplomasie en die sanksies wat Obama voorgestaan ​​het nie. En terwyl die president sy gelofte herhaal het dat "alle opsies op die tafel is" om Iran se strewe na 'n wapen te stop, het hy nie eksplisiet melding gemaak van militêre mag, soos hy Sondag gehad het nie.

Die president het ook nie 'n ander belangrike Israeliese eis aanvaar nie: militêre optrede kom voordat Iran die vermoë kry om 'n bom te vervaardig, in teenstelling met voordat dit 'n bom bou. Die twee mans het nie die gaping oor hierdie kwessie toegemaak nie, het die amptenaar gesê, hoewel hy bygevoeg het dat mnr. Netanyahu nie vir Obama daaroor gedruk het nie.

Mnr. Netanyahu het Obama ook nie gedwing om skerper “rooi lyne” of toestande neer te lê wat Amerikaanse optrede sou veroorsaak nie, soos die afgelope week gerugte was, het Israeliese en Amerikaanse amptenare gesê.

In sy toespraak aan Aipac het mnr. Netanyahu nie gepraat oor die verhindering van Iran om kernwapens te bereik nie, slegs 'n kernwapen self. "Ter wille van ons voorspoed, ter wille van veiligheid, ter wille van ons kinders, mag Iran nie toegelaat word om kernwapens te bekom nie," het hy gesê.

Soos in vorige toesprake, het Netanyahu stilgestaan ​​by die bedreiging van 'n kernwapen Iran. Teheran, het hy gesê, was die wêreld se voorste borg van terrorisme en het die afgelope jaar probeer om die Saoedi -ambassadeur in Washington te vermoor. Hy het gesê Iran wil die staat Israel “elke dag, elke dag, meedoënloos” vernietig.

Israeliese amptenare was die meeste tevrede met Obama se uitdruklike weiering om 'n beleid te volg om 'n kernwapen Iran te bevat. Die president het gesê dat die verkryging van kernwapens deur Iran 'n wapenwedloop in die Midde -Ooste aan die brand sal steek, die kern van kernwapens wat in die hande van terroriste val, sal toeneem en Iran in staat sal stel om straffeloos in die streek op te tree.

Die stemming in die ovaalkantoor was somber en saaklik, soos gewoonlik in vergaderings tussen Obama en Netanyahu. Maar die chemie was beter as in vorige vergaderings, het amptenare gesê.

In hul laaste ontmoeting met die ovaalkantoor, in Mei 2011, verwerp mnr. Netanyahu 'n voorstel van die president om die vredesonderhandelinge tussen die Israeliete en die Palestyne te laat herleef. Met 'n klipperige meneer Obama langs hom, het mnr. Netanyahu gesê dat Israel nie 'vrede' op grond van illusies sal nastreef nie.


Obama en Netanyahu ontmoet: Verhouding en verskille onveranderd

President Barack Obama het Maandag premier Benjamin Netanyahu gevra om die sanksies teen Iran meer tyd te gee om hom voor te lê totdat hy aankondig - soos Noord -Korea pas gesê het - dat hy sy kernplanne sal stop in ruil vir voedsel. Maar Netanyahu het geen teken gegee dat hy 'n militêre staking teen Iran se kernfasiliteite van die tafel neem nie.

Dit is selde in vergaderings op so 'n hoë vlak dat soveel moeite en energie bestee sal word slegs om 'n posisie te kry wat 'n presiese weergawe van beide kante is en dat die rommel voor die bohaai staan.

Tensy die ophef self die doel van hierdie vergadering op hoë vlak was.

Neem byvoorbeeld die afwesigheid van hewige meningsverskille voor of na die vergadering. Dieselfde kloof wat die twee mans gister geskei het, was nog steeds daar, maar nie een van die leiers was veral ontsteld oor wat 'n bespreking van lewe en dood vir hulle albei moes gewees het nie. A nuclear Iran would surely be capable of delivering a stunning blow to Israel, God forbid, but it would also be able to seriously damage US interests, in the Middle East and elsewhere. Imagine the reaction of the Saudi Royal house to its loathsome Shi’ite neighbor, already an existential threat to the region’s oil producers, wielding a nuclear device. It is the stuff of American nightmares, too.

Unless the meeting today was not about Iran’s threat but about the stability of Netanyahu’s coalition government and Obama’s chances at the polls in November.

I spoke to an official of one of the right-wing factions in the Knesset who told me that all day long Leftist officials had been grabbing him by the collar and reading him the Democrats’ talking points: Obama protected Israel in the UN and in Durban Obama is paying for Israel’s anti-missile project, and so on.

“I told them: can you imagine if he didn’t?” the official said. “How could he even think of getting re-elected if, say, the US didn’t reject the Goldstone report?”

In that vein, neither leader likes the other very much, and at least one has been caught saying as much in public. But today, more than ever, they need each other.

Both leaders have economic issues and social protests to deal with, and whether the answer is subjective, objective or politically prejudiced, both leaders stand a chance of failing the Ronald Reagan ultimate election question to the voter: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

And so engaging Iran in an ongoing verbal duel would work well for both Obama and Netanyahu.

Strangely, the same duel appears to still be serving well their foe, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mind you, this does not mean that the Iranian nuclear threat is not real. It only means that we who do not have access to secret intelligence (and I suspect even those who do) have no concrete idea about Iran’s progress in building a nuclear device, because Iran has been barring any and all inspection from those facilities. Ahmadinejad has played a brilliant game of Three Card Monte, and even seems to be having oodles of fun with it. Here you see it, here you don’t, we may have the bomb, we may not, who knows.

Obama sought to assure Netanyahu that the United States was keeping the military option against Iran open, and “has Israel’s back,” and at the same time urged Israel to wait patiently for the sanctions and, possibly, diplomacy, to do their job.

Netanyahu, for his part, concentrated on Israel’s undeniable right to defend itself against Iran, and reiterated that Israel sees Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its existence.

The problem is, both leaders had held precisely the same positions before and after their meeting. So why meet?

Plausibly in order to meet. The show’s the thing.

Let’s face it, Israel is hesitant about striking Iran in the near future. It may not be able to do so overwhelmingly without the superior US air power. And the US cannot permit Iran to continue brandishing its nuclear swords, because it’s bad for business everywhere. Because it could end with a barrel of oil selling at $200, and this would surely mean a Mormon president in the White House come January.

There are only three directions this plot can go in the next six months, and all three are perfectly plausible:

Iran may capitulate under world pressure.

Israel may decide it can’t wait any longer and strike on its own.

The US and Israel may decide it’s time to take out Iran.

We knew all that on Sunday. We know nothing more today.

While no one in the West can say with certainty how real is Iran’s nuclear threat, they all appear to be ignoring a different threat which is frighteningly real and no one doubts that some day, God forbid, it would be in play.


Netanyahu, Obama Meet, Seem To Keep True Feelings Close To The Chest

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had their long-awaited Oval Office face-off on Monday.

They may not agree on much, but one thing that Netanyahu told President Obama had a certain ring of truth: Israel and the United States are both enemies of Iran.

&ldquoIran’s leaders know that, too. For them you’re the great Satan. We’re the little Satan. For them we are you and we are us,&rdquo Netanyahu said.

President Obama didn’t acknowledge that, preferring instead to send a message to Iran and Jewish voters here at home about America’s commitment to Israel.

&ldquoOur commitment to the security of Israel is rock solid,&rdquo Obama said.

Commitment or not, Israel’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear capabilities are more pessimistic than the president’s. The Israelis say the time for military intervention is months away. The U.S. appears to think differently.

&ldquoWe do believe that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution of the issue,&rdquo Obama said.

The purpose of the meeting was for the United States to try to stop Israel from a premature bombing mission of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel wants to try to pressure the United States into drawing clear lines in the sand about what will provoke an American military attack.

But Netanyahu held out the possibility of going it alone.

&ldquoMy supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure Israel remains the master of its fate,&rdquo Netanyahu said.

The one sure thing is that there are a lot of things that both sides won’t talk about publicly.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …


Netanyahu on Iran: 'None of us can afford to wait much longer'

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, invoked the spectre of Auschwitz as he chided those who question whether Iran is in pursuit of a nuclear weapon and warned that "none of us can afford to wait much longer" to act against Tehran.

In an address to the powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington, Netanyahu derided the effectiveness of sanctions hours after a meeting with Barack Obama at which the US president appealed for time for diplomacy to pressure Iran to open up its nuclear programme to inspection.

At the strained White House meeting, the Israeli prime minister responded to Obama's demand for an end to "loose talk of war" and bluster over Iran by reiterating the Jewish state's "right to defend itself".

Speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) hours later, Netanyahu questioned the premise of US policy that Iran has not yet made the decision to develop a nuclear weapon.

"Amazingly, some people refuse to acknowledge that Iran's goal is to develop nuclear weapons. You see, Iran claims that it's enriching uranium to develop medical research. Yeah, right," he said. "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it? That's right, it's a duck. But this duck is a nuclear duck and it's time the world started calling a duck a duck.

"Fortunately, President Obama and most world leaders understand that the idea that Iran's goal is not to develop nuclear weapons is ridiculous."

In fact, Obama has consistently said that US intelligence does not show Iran is working towards a nuclear bomb or has decided to do so. Washington believes that even if Iran decides to develop a nuclear weapon, it is at least a year away from being able to do so.

At the White House meeting, the US president again urged that sanctions be given time to work. Netanyahu was dismissive in his speech to Aipac.

"For the last decade, the international community has tried diplomacy. It hasn't worked. For six years, the international community has applied sanctions. That hasn't worked either. I appreciate President Obama's recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran. Those sanctions are hurting Iran's economy. But unfortunately, Iran's nuclear march goes on," he said.

"Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue. We've waited for diplomacy to work. We've waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer."

Netanyahu arrived in Washington planning to press Obama to commit to military action against Iran if it crosses specified "red lines" in development of its nuclear programme or fails to meet demands to dismantle its underground nuclear facility in Qom and to halt uranium enrichment.

US officials say the president did not want to make any such commitment, even though he says the military option remains on the table, out of concern that it will be seen as implicitly endorsing an Israeli attack if the demands are not met.

It's not known if Netanyahu pressed the case at his one-on-one session with Obama and the Israeli prime minister told Aipac he wasn't going to discuss it in public.

"I'm not going to talk to you about what Israel will do or will not do. I never talk about that," he said.

In his own speech to Aipac on Sunday, Obama demanded an end to the "loose talk of war" and "bluster" against Iran - a clear reference to the noise out of Netanyahu's government. At the same time the US president repeated his reassurance that he "has Israel's back".

At the White House meeting, Obama spoke of the "difficult months" ahead.

"It is profoundly in the United States' interest as well to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he said. "That's why we have worked so diligently to set up the most crippling sanctions ever with respect to Iran. We do believe that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue, but ultimately the Iranians' regime has to make a decision to move in that direction, a decision that they have not made thus far.

"My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. When I say all options are at the table, I mean it. 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."

But Netanyahu told Aipac: "There's been plenty of talk recently about the costs of stopping Iran. I think it's time to talk about the costs of not stopping Iran."

The Israeli prime minister invoked the Holocaust in saying he would not allow Israelis to "live under the shadow of annihilation". He said he had in his desk a copy of a letter from the World Jewish Congress asking the US war department to bomb the Auschwitz death camp in 1944.

Netanyahu said that in their reply the Americans said that such an operation would require them to divert too many aircraft from other missions and it probably wouldn't succeed.

"And here's the most remarkable sentence of all, and I quote: 'Such an effort might provoke even more vindictive action by the Germans'. Think about that – 'even more vindictive action' - than the Holocaust," he said. "Today we have a state of our own. The purpose of the Jewish state is to secure the Jewish future. That is why Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. We deeply appreciate the great alliance between our two countries. But when it comes to Israel's survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate."

Netanyahu - who tellingly made no mention of the conflict with the Palestinians, exposing how it has been sidelined by the whipping up of the Iran crisis - was talking to a sympathetic audience of 13,000 Aipac members who loudly cheered and clapped the Israeli leader. But he was also addressing a powerful one.

More than half the members of the US Congress were in attendance, a reflection of Aipac's influence on Capitol Hill where it has been a driving force in pressing for stronger sanctions legislation against Iran and upping the rhetoric.

The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, addressed the conference shortly before Netanyahu and backed the Israeli wish to see Obama make an explicit threat of military action against Iran if red lines are crossed, although he did not mention Netanyahu's demands for the dismantling of existing nuclear facilities.

McConnell blamed Obama's attempts to engage with the Iranian leadership when he first came to power for allowing Tehran time to develop its nuclear programme, describing the approach as a "critical flaw" in policy.

He said that Obama is now relying too heavily on sanctions and called for a "clear declarative policy of what we will do and why".

"This is the policy I recommend: If Iran at any time begins to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels or decides to go forward with a weapons programme, then the United States would use overwhelming force to end that programme," McConnell said to loud cheers and applause and whistles.

"All that's been lacking until now is a clear declarative policy, and if the administration's reluctant for some reason to articulate it then Congress will attempt to do it for them."


Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu and the entire Israeli delegation back to the White House, back to the Oval Office.

This visit obviously comes at a critical time. We are seeing incredible changes that are taking place in the Middle East and in North Africa. We have seen the terrible bloodshed that's going on in Syria, the democratic transition that's taking place in Egypt. And in the midst of this, we have an island of democracy and one of our greatest allies in Israel.

As I've said repeatedly, the bond between our two countries is unbreakable. My personal commitment -- a commitment that is consistent with the history of other occupants of this Oval Office -- our commitment to the security of Israel is rock solid. And as I've said to the Prime Minister in every single one of our meetings, the United States will always have Israel's back when it comes to Israel's security. This is a bond that is based not only on our mutual security interests and economic interests, but is also based on common values and the incredible people-to-people contacts that we have between our two countries.

During the course of this meeting, we'll talk about the regional issues that are taking place, and I look forward to the Prime Minister sharing with me his ideas about how we can increase the prospects of peace and security in the region. We will discuss the issues that continue to be a focus of not only our foreign policy but also the Prime Minister's -- how we can, potentially, bring about a calmer set of discussions between the Israelis and the Palestinians and arrive at a peaceful resolution to that longstanding conflict. It is a very difficult thing to do in light of the context right now, but I know that the Prime Minister remains committed to trying to achieve that.

And obviously a large topic of conversation will be Iran, which I devoted a lot of time to in my speech to AIPAC yesterday, and I know that the Prime Minister has been focused on for a long period of time. Let me just reiterate a couple of points on that.

Number one, we all know that it's unacceptable from Israel's perspective to have a country with a nuclear weapon that has called for the destruction of Israel. But as I emphasized yesterday, it is profoundly in the United States' interest as well to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We do not want to see a nuclear arms race in one of the most volatile regions in the world. We do not want the possibility of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorists. And we do not want a regime that has been a state sponsor of terrorism being able to feel that it can act even more aggressively or with impunity as a consequence of its nuclear power.

That's why we have worked so diligently to set up the most crippling sanctions ever with respect to Iran. We do believe that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue, but ultimately the Iranians' regime has to make a decision to move in that direction, a decision that they have not made thus far.

And as I emphasized, even as we will continue on the diplomatic front, we will continue to tighten pressure when it comes to sanctions, I reserve all options, and my policy here is not going to be one of containment. My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. And as I indicated yesterday in my speech, when I say all options are at the table, I mean it.

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. I think the levels of coordination and consultation between our militaries and our intelligence not just on this issue but on a broad range of issues has been unprecedented. And I intend to make sure that that continues during what will be a series of difficult months, I suspect, in 2012.

So, Prime Minister, we welcome you and we appreciate very much the friendship of the Israeli people. You can count on that friendship always being reciprocated from the United States.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Mr. President, thank you for those kind words. And thank you, too, for that strong speech yesterday. And I want to thank you also for the warm hospitality that you've shown me and my delegation.

The alliance between our two countries is deeply appreciated by me and by everyone in Israel. And I think that, as you said, when Americans look around the Middle East today, they see one reliable, stable, faithful ally of the United States, and that's the democracy of Israel.

Americans know that Israel and the United States share common values, that we defend common interests, that we face common enemies. Iran's leaders know that, too. For them, you're the Great Satan, we're the Little Satan. For them, we are you and you're us. And you know something, Mr. President -- at least on this last point, I think they're right. We are you, and you are us. We're together. So if there's one thing that stands out clearly in the Middle East today, it's that Israel and America stand together.

I think that above and beyond that are two principles, longstanding principles of American policy that you reiterated yesterday in your speech -- that Israel must have the ability always to defend itself by itself against any threat and that when it comes to Israel's security, Israel has the right, the sovereign right to make its own decisions. I believe that's why you appreciate, Mr. President, that Israel must reserve the right to defend itself.

And after all, that's the very purpose of the Jewish state -- to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. And that's why my supreme responsibility as Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate.

So I thank you very much, Mr. President, for your friendship, and I look forward to our discussions. Thank you, Mr. President.


Remarks by the President at AIPAC Policy Conference

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Well, good morning, everyone.

Rosy, thank you for your kind words. I have never seen Rosy on the basketball court. I'll bet it would be a treat. (Laughter.) Rosy, you've been a dear friend of mine for a long time and a tireless advocate for the unbreakable bonds between Israel and the United States. And as you complete your term as President, I salute your leadership and your commitment. (Applause.)

I want to thank the board of directors. As always, I&rsquom glad to see my long-time friends in the Chicago delegation. (Applause.) I also want to thank the members of Congress who are with us here today, and who will be speaking to you over the next few days. You've worked hard to maintain the partnership between the United States and Israel. And I especially want to thank my close friend, and leader of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (Applause.)

I&rsquom glad that my outstanding young Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, is in the house. (Applause.) I understand that Dan is perfecting his Hebrew on his new assignment, and I appreciate his constant outreach to the Israeli people. And I&rsquom also pleased that we&rsquore joined by so many Israeli officials, including Ambassador Michael Oren. (Applause.) And tomorrow, I&rsquom very much looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu and his delegation back to the White House. (Applause.)

Every time I come to AIPAC, I&rsquom especially impressed to see so many young people here. (Applause.) You don't yet get the front seats -- I understand. (Laughter.) You have to earn that. But students from all over the country who are making their voices heard and engaging deeply in our democratic debate. You carry with you an extraordinary legacy of more than six decades of friendship between the United States and Israel. And you have the opportunity -- and the responsibility -- to make your own mark on the world. And for inspiration, you can look to the man who preceded me on this stage, who's being honored at this conference -- my friend, President Shimon Peres. (Applause.)

Shimon was born a world away from here, in a shtetlin what was then Poland, a few years after the end of the first world war. But his heart was always in Israel, the historic homeland of the Jewish people. (Applause.) And when he was just a boy he made his journey across land and sea -- toward home.

In his life, he has fought for Israel&rsquos independence, and he has fought for peace and security. As a member of the Haganah and a member of the Knesset, as a Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs, as a Prime Minister and as President -- Shimon helped build the nation that thrives today: the Jewish state of Israel. (Applause.) But beyond these extraordinary achievements, he has also been a powerful moral voice that reminds us that right makes might -- not the other way around. (Applause.)

Shimon once described the story of the Jewish people by saying it proved that, &ldquoslings, arrows and gas chambers can annihilate man, but cannot destroy human values, dignity, and freedom.&rdquo And he has lived those values. (Applause.) He has taught us to ask more of ourselves, and to empathize more with our fellow human beings. I am grateful for his life&rsquos work and his moral example. And I'm proud to announce that later this spring, I will invite Shimon Peres to the White House to present him with America&rsquos highest civilian honor -- the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Applause.)

In many ways, this award is a symbol of the broader ties that bind our nations. The United States and Israel share interests, but we also share those human values that Shimon spoke about: A commitment to human dignity. A belief that freedom is a right that is given to all of God&rsquos children. An experience that shows us that democracy is the one and only form of government that can truly respond to the aspirations of citizens.

America&rsquos Founding Fathers understood this truth, just as Israel&rsquos founding generation did. President Truman put it well, describing his decision to formally recognize Israel only minutes after it declared independence. He said, "I had faith in Israel before it was established. I believe it has a glorious future before it -- as not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization."

For over six decades, the American people have kept that faith. Yes, we are bound to Israel because of the interests that we share -- in security for our communities, prosperity for our people, the new frontiers of science that can light the world. But ultimately it is our common ideals that provide the true foundation for our relationship. That is why America&rsquos commitment to Israel has endured under Democratic and Republican Presidents, and congressional leaders of both parties. (Applause.) In the United States, our support for Israel is bipartisan, and that is how it should stay. (Applause.)

AIPAC&rsquos work continually nurtures this bond. And because of AIPAC&rsquos effectiveness in carrying out its mission, you can expect that over the next several days, you will hear many fine words from elected officials describing their commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship. But as you examine my commitment, you don&rsquot just have to count on my words. You can look at my deeds. Because over the last three years, as President of the United States, I have kept my commitments to the state of Israel. At every crucial juncture -- at every fork in the road -- we have been there for Israel. Every single time. (Applause.)

Four years ago, I stood before you and said that, "Israel&rsquos security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable." That belief has guided my actions as President. The fact is, my administration&rsquos commitment to Israel&rsquos security has been unprecedented. Our military and intelligence cooperation has never been closer. (Applause.) Our joint exercises and training have never been more robust. Despite a tough budget environment, our security assistance has increased every single year. (Applause.) We are investing in new capabilities. We&rsquore providing Israel with more advanced technology -- the types of products and systems that only go to our closest friends and allies. And make no mistake: We will do what it takes to preserve Israel&rsquos qualitative military edge -- because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. (Applause.)

This isn&rsquot just about numbers on a balance sheet. As a senator, I spoke to Israeli troops on the Lebanese border. I visited with families who&rsquove known the terror of rocket fire in Sderot. And that&rsquos why, as President, I have provided critical funding to deploy the Iron Dome system that has intercepted rockets that might have hit homes and hospitals and schools in that town and in others. (Applause.) Now our assistance is expanding Israel&rsquos defensive capabilities, so that more Israelis can live free from the fear of rockets and ballistic missiles. Because no family, no citizen, should live in fear.

And just as we&rsquove been there with our security assistance, we've been there through our diplomacy. When the Goldstone report unfairly singled out Israel for criticism, we challenged it. (Applause.) When Israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, we supported them. (Applause.) When the Durban conference was commemorated, we boycotted it, and we will always reject the notion that Zionism is racism. (Applause.)

When one-sided resolutions are brought up at the Human Rights Council, we oppose them. When Israeli diplomats feared for their lives in Cairo, we intervened to save them. (Applause.) When there are efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, we will stand against them. (Applause.) And whenever an effort is made to de-legitimize the state of Israel, my administration has opposed them. (Applause.) So there should not be a shred of doubt by now -- when the chips are down, I have Israel&rsquos back. (Applause.)

Which is why, if during this political season -- (laughter) -- you hear some questions regarding my administration&rsquos support for Israel, remember that it&rsquos not backed up by the facts. And remember that the U.S.-Israel relationship is simply too important to be distorted by partisan politics. America&rsquos national security is too important. Israel&rsquos security is too important. (Applause.)

Of course, there are those who question not my security and diplomatic commitments, but rather my administration&rsquos ongoing pursuit of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. So let me say this: I make no apologies for pursuing peace. Israel&rsquos own leaders understand the necessity of peace. Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, President Peres -- each of them have called for two states, a secure Israel that lives side by side with an independent Palestinian state. I believe that peace is profoundly in Israel&rsquos security interest. (Applause.)

The reality that Israel faces -- from shifting demographics, to emerging technologies, to an extremely difficult international environment -- demands a resolution of this issue. And I believe that peace with the Palestinians is consistent with Israel&rsquos founding values -- because of our shared belief in self-determination, and because Israel&rsquos place as a Jewish and democratic state must be protected. (Applause.)

Of course, peace is hard to achieve. There&rsquos a reason why it's remained elusive for six decades. The upheaval and uncertainty in Israel&rsquos neighborhood makes it that much harder -- from the horrific violence raging in Syria, to the transition in Egypt. And the division within the Palestinian leadership makes it harder still -- most notably, with Hamas&rsquos continued rejection of Israel&rsquos very right to exist.

But as hard as it may be, we should not, and cannot, give in to cynicism or despair. The changes taking place in the region make peace more important, not less. And I've made it clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel&rsquos security concerns are met. (Applause.) That's why we continue to press Arab leaders to reach out to Israel, and will continue to support the peace treaty with Egypt. That&rsquos why -- just as we encourage Israel to be resolute in the pursuit of peace -- we have continued to insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel&rsquos right to exist, and reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements. (Applause.) And that is why my administration has consistently rejected any efforts to short-cut negotiations or impose an agreement on the parties. (Applause.)

As Rosy noted, last year, I stood before you and pledged that, "the United States will stand up against efforts to single Israel out at the United Nations." As you know, that pledge has been kept. (Applause.) Last September, I stood before the United Nations General Assembly and reaffirmed that any lasting peace must acknowledge the fundamental legitimacy of Israel and its security concerns. I said that America&rsquos commitment to Israel&rsquos security is unshakeable, our friendship with Israel is enduring, and that Israel must be recognized. No American President has made such a clear statement about our support for Israel at the United Nations at such a difficult time. People usually give those speeches before audiences like this one -- not before the General Assembly. (Applause.)

And I must say, there was not a lot of applause. (Laughter.) But it was the right thing to do. (Applause.) And as a result, today there is no doubt -- anywhere in the world -- that the United States will insist upon Israel&rsquos security and legitimacy. (Applause.) That will be true as we continue our efforts to pursue -- in the pursuit of peace. And that will be true when it comes to the issue that is such a focus for all of us today: Iran&rsquos nuclear program -- a threat that has the potential to bring together the worst rhetoric about Israel&rsquos destruction with the world&rsquos most dangerous weapons.

Let&rsquos begin with a basic truth that you all understand: No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel&rsquos destruction. (Applause.) And so I understand the profound historical obligation that weighs on the shoulders of Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, and all of Israel&rsquos leaders.

A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel&rsquos security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States. (Applause.)

Indeed, the entire world has an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran would thoroughly undermine the non-proliferation regime that we've done so much to build. There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization. It is almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the world's most volatile regions. It would embolden a regime that has brutalized its own people, and it would embolden Iran&rsquos proxies, who have carried out terrorist attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia.

And that is why, four years ago, I made a commitment to the American people, and said that we would use all elements of American power to pressure Iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And that is what we have done. (Applause.)

When I took office, the efforts to apply pressure on Iran were in tatters. Iran had gone from zero centrifuges spinning to thousands, without facing broad pushback from the world. In the region, Iran was ascendant -- increasingly popular, and extending its reach. In other words, the Iranian leadership was united and on the move, and the international community was divided about how to go forward.

And so from my very first months in office, we put forward a very clear choice to the Iranian regime: a path that would allow them to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their international obligations, or a path that leads to an escalating series of consequences if they don't. In fact, our policy of engagement -- quickly rebuffed by the Iranian regime -- allowed us to rally the international community as never before, to expose Iran&rsquos intransigence, and to apply pressure that goes far beyond anything that the United States could do on our own.

Because of our efforts, Iran is under greater pressure than ever before. Some of you will recall, people predicted that Russia and China wouldn&rsquot join us to move toward pressure. They did. And in 2010 the U.N. Security Council overwhelmingly supported a comprehensive sanctions effort. Few thought that sanctions could have an immediate bite on the Iranian regime. They have, slowing the Iranian nuclear program and virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt in 2011. Many questioned whether we could hold our coalition together as we moved against Iran&rsquos Central Bank and oil exports. But our friends in Europe and Asia and elsewhere are joining us. And in 2012, the Iranian government faces the prospect of even more crippling sanctions.

That is where we are today -- because of our work. Iran is isolated, its leadership divided and under pressure. And by the way, the Arab Spring has only increased these trends, as the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is exposed, and its ally -- the Assad regime -- is crumbling.

Of course, so long as Iran fails to meet its obligations, this problem remains unresolved. The effective implementation of our policy is not enough -- we must accomplish our objective. (Applause.) And in that effort, I firmly believe that an opportunity still remains for diplomacy -- backed by pressure -- to succeed.

The United States and Israel both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program. Now, the international community has a responsibility to use the time and space that exists. Sanctions are continuing to increase, and this July -- thanks to our diplomatic coordination -- a European ban on Iranian oil imports will take hold. (Applause.) Faced with these increasingly dire consequences, Iran&rsquos leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. They can choose a path that brings them back into the community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end.

And given their history, there are, of course, no guarantees that the Iranian regime will make the right choice. But both Israel and the United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically. After all, the only way to truly solve this problem is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear weapons. That&rsquos what history tells us.

Moreover, as President and Commander-in-Chief, I have a deeply held preference for peace over war. (Applause.) I have sent men and women into harm&rsquos way. I've seen the consequences of those decisions in the eyes of those I meet who've come back gravely wounded, and the absence of those who don&rsquot make it home. Long after I leave this office, I will remember those moments as the most searing of my presidency. And for this reason, as part of my solemn obligation to the American people, I will only use force when the time and circumstances demand it. And I know that Israeli leaders also know all too well the costs and consequences of war, even as they recognize their obligation to defend their country.

We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, Iran&rsquos leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States -- (applause) -- just as they should not doubt Israel&rsquos sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. (Applause.)

I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. (Applause.) That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. (Applause.)

Iran&rsquos leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. (Applause.) And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests. (Applause.)

Moving forward, I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world. Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel&rsquos security, America&rsquos security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster. Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly carry a big stick. (Applause.) And as we do, rest assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve, and that our coordination with Israel will continue.

These are challenging times. But we've been through challenging times before, and the United States and Israel have come through them together. Because of our cooperation, citizens in both our countries have benefited from the bonds that bring us together. I'm proud to be one of those people. In the past, I've shared in this forum just why those bonds are so personal for me: the stories of a great uncle who helped liberate Buchenwald, to my memories of returning there with Elie Wiesel from sharing books with President Peres to sharing seders with my young staff in a tradition that started on the campaign trail and continues in the White House from the countless friends I know in this room to the concept of tikkun olam that has enriched and guided my life. (Applause.)

As Harry Truman understood, Israel&rsquos story is one of hope. We may not agree on every single issue -- no two nations do, and our democracies contain a vibrant diversity of views. But we agree on the big things -- the things that matter. And together, we are working to build a better world -- one where our people can live free from fear one where peace is founded upon justice one where our children can know a future that is more hopeful than the present.

There is no shortage of speeches on the friendship between the United States and Israel. But I'm also mindful of the proverb, "A man is judged by his deeds, not his words." So if you want to know where my heart lies, look no further than what I have done -- to stand up for Israel to secure both of our countries and to see that the rough waters of our time lead to a peaceful and prosperous shore. (Applause.)

Thank you very much, everybody. God seën jou. God bless the people of Israel. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)