Obama Stresses Strong Support for Israel during Meeting with Neta
Obama: The U.S.-Israel Bond is “Unbreakable”
During a joint press conference at the White House Tuesday (July 6), President Barack Obama emphasized the United States’ “unwavering” support for Israel. Both he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also discussed their mutual desire to push ahead with direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
“The United States is committed to Israel’s security,” Obama said. “We are committed to that special bond. And we are going to do what’s required to back that up, not just with words, but with actions.” The bond between the two countries is “unbreakable,” Obama said.
Netanyahu said reports that ties between the two countries had been damaged “aren’t just premature, they’re just flat wrong.”
The two leaders said they discussed a range of issues, such as the danger of a nuclear Iran, the need for strong security for Israel and stopping Iran-backed terrorist groups from using Palestinian areas to fire rockets at Israel.
“I believe Prime Minister Netanyahu wants peace,” Obama said. The prime minister later echoed, “We’re committed to that peace. I’m committed to that peace.” Netanyahu also said he and the president talked about what could be done to push the peace process in “the next few weeks…The president means that too.”
Netanyahu, at the beginning of their meeting, stressed to Obama his desire to enter into direct negotiations with the Palestinians, noting that Jerusalem and Ramallah are separated by a mere 15-minute car ride.
Netanyahu, speaking about the danger of a nuclear Iran, said, “The greatest new threat on the horizon, the single most dominant issue for many of us, is the prospect that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons. Iran is brutally terrorizing its people, spreading terrorism far and wide. And I very much appreciate the President’s statement that he is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
The prime minister, referring to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (H.R. 2194, S. 2799) that Obama signed into law July 1, encouraged other countries to follow the United States’ lead in adopting tough sanctions.
Obama also reiterated the need for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group not to impede peace through incitement.
Just days before, Abbas praised the leader of the Munich Olympic massacres, Muhammad Daoud Oudeh, who had just died. Abbas published a statement that, “The deceased was one of the prominent leaders of the Fatah movement and lived a life filled with the struggle, devoted effort, and the enormous sacrifice of the deceased for the sake of the legitimate problem of his people, in many spheres. He was at the forefront on every battlefield, with the aim of defending the [Palestinian] revolution. What a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn, relentless fighter.”
The trip was Netanyahu’s fifth White House visit since taking office in March 2009. Netanyahu originally planned to meet with Obama June 1, but postponed it to address the aftermath of a May 31 Israeli operation to prevent an illegal flotilla from reaching Gaza. Abbas met with Obama in Washington June 9.
The joint press conference was followed by a lunch for both delegations. In the meantime, Netanyahu’s wife was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama for a visit of the White House. 
Last week, Netanyahu invited Abbas to Jerusalem and also offered to travel to Ramallah to get the peace process underway.
“I call on president Abu Mazen to come to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said June 30. “I’m prepared to go to Ramallah.” Netanyahu’s offer to Abbas followed a meeting with Obama’s Middle East negotiator George Mitchell, who has mediated talks between Israel and the Palestinians during the last five months.
During Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, he is also scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before traveling to New York to meet with Jewish leaders. On Thursday, he is slated to give a policy speech at the Foreign Relations Council. After his U.S. trip, Netanyahu is to visit with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to talk about his trip to Washington.
On July 5, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, marking the first such high-level meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders – without a mediator – in more than five months.
In May, Israel and the Palestinian Authority entered into indirect “proximity talks,” mediated by Mitchell. Since then, Israel has made a series of goodwill gestures to the Palestinians in hopes they will return to direct negotiations.
Israel has undertaken numerous actions and initiatives to pave the way for Palestinians and Israelis to live side by side in peace since President Obama was sworn into office in January 2009 and to grow the Palestinian economy and improve freedom of movement for Palestinians.
 Transcription by The Israel Project, July 6, 2010  Transcription by The Israel Project, July 6, 2010  Superville, Darlene, ” Obama, Netanyahu agree to focus on peace talks,” Associated Press, July 6, 2010, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100706/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_israel  Ibid.  “Obama praises ‘real progress on the ground’ in Gaza,” CNN, July 6, 2010, http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/06/obama-netanyahu-willing-to-take-risks-for-peace/?hpt=T2  Transcription by The Israel Project, July 6, 2010  Superville, Darlene, ” Obama, Netanyahu agree to focus on peace talks,” Associated Press, July 6, 2010, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100706/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_israel  Benhorin, Yitzhak, “Netanyahu tells Obama Israel wants direct talks soon,” YnetNews, July 6, 2010, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3916011,00.html
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 Ibid.  Ibid.  Marcus, Itamar and Jacques Zilberdik, Nan, “PA Chairman Abbas continues honoring terrorists,” Palestinian Media Watch, July 6, 2010, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=2531  “Rahm Emanuel: ‘Moment of Opportunity’ to make Mid East Peace,” ABC News, June 20, 2010, http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/06/rahm-emanuel-moment-of-opportunity-to-make-mideast-peace.html  Black, Ian; MacAskill, Ewen; Booth, Robert, “Gaza flotilla attack: Turks killed by Israeli soldiers given heroes’ funeral,” The Guardian (UK), June 4, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/03/gaza-flotilla-attack-turkey-funeral  “Remarks by President Obama and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority after Meeting,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, June 9, 2010, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-obama-and-president-abbas-palestinian-authority-after-meeting  Ben Horin, Yitzhak, “Obama: Israel serious about peace,” YnetNews, July 6, 2010, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3916011,00.html  AFP, “Netanyahu invites Palestinian leader to Jerusalem,” France 24 TV, June 30, 2010, http://www.france24.com/en/20100630-netanyahu-invites-palestinian-leader-jerusalem  AFP, “Netanyahu invites Palestinian leader to Jerusalem,” France 24 TV, June 30, 2010, http://www.france24.com/en/20100630-netanyahu-invites-palestinian-leader-jerusalem  Kraft, Dina, “Israel: Defense Minister to Meet Palestinian Premier,” The New York Times, June 30, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/world/middleeast/01briefs-Israel1.html?_r=1  Ravid , Barak, “Netanyahu heads to Washington in efforts to mend U.S. ties,” Haaretz, July 5, 2010, http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-heads-to-washington-in-effort-to-mend-u-s-ties-1.300221
 Ben-David, Calev and Abu Ramadan, Saud, “Barak Meets Fayyad on Eve of Netanyahu-Obama Talks,” Bloomberg Business Week, July 5, 2010, http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-05/barak-meets-fayyad-on-eve-of-netanyahu-obama-talks.html
 Kraft, Dina, “Israel: Defense Minister to Meet Palestinian Premier,” The New York Times, June 30, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/world/middleeast/01briefs-Israel1.html?_r=1
 “Statement on Special Envoy George Mitchell’s Trip,” U.S. Department of State Web site, May 9, 2010, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/05/141637.htm
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