Obama doesn’t support Israel? Think again.
In the wake of the terrible missile attacks, bus bombing and the Fogel tragedy, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met today with Israel’s PM, Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Caesarea (between Tel Aviv and Haifa). For all the criticism this administration receives towards Israel, Gates made a very strong statement of support.
I only found the video clip on INN Gates starts with talking about the terror attacks:
…the thoughts and condolences of the American government and the American people are with the victims and their families. We underscore that Israel, like all nations, has the right to self-defense and to bring justice to the perpetrators of these repugnant acts.
Gates and Barak discussed a range of issues, including Israel’s defense and security, the Arab uprisings around the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear program, He also said because of the dramatic change in the region, he wanted to
…reaffirm, once more,America’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. Indeed, I cannot recall a time during my public life [some 20 years] when our two countries have had a closer defense relationship. The US and Israel are cooperating closely in areas such as missile defense technology, the joint strike fighter, and in training exercises such as Juniper Stallion; cooperation and support that ensures that Israel will continue to maintain its qualitative military edge.
Gates wanted to make it clear that despite these awful attacks, the peace process is still on the table.
I know there may be a temptation during this time of great uncertainty in the region to be more cautious about perusing the peace process, but in my meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, I carry a different message. That there is a need, an opportunity for bold action to move toward a 2-state solution. And as the parties move forward, the United States stands ready to support them in any way we can.
This comes as no surprise. In fact, Bush said the same thing every time Israel was attacked, either from homicide bombers or by Kassam rockets, when he cautioned Ariel Sharon to use restraint. Bush also continually supported a 2-state solution. Wasn’t it Bush who created the Road Map?
One may argue that now is not the time and it most likely is not, but certainly it’s within the realm of possibilities that a vacuum of power could even open up in the Territories. Would the Palestinians be willing to rise up against Hamas? It’s not likely, but hey, anything is possible. And no, Gates didn’t say that bit, I was just thinking about it.
In closing, Gates sent a heartfelt message.
… Every time I visit Israel, I’m reminded of the extraordinary challenges the Jewish people have overcome throughout their history, the tremendous accomplishment that the State of Israel represents and the importance of our alliance for insuring Israel’s security