Obama accepts Israel’s nuclear stance as reflecting its unique security needs
US President Barack Obama indicated this at the end of his White House conversation with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday, July 6, which both called "excellent." What he said was there had been "no change" in US policy in the wake of the Non-Proliferation Treaty conference in May, which called on Israel to join the treaty. The US president stressed that given its size, history and the levels of threat Israel faces: "We will not ask Israel to take steps that endanger its security."
debkafile's Washington sources: This was taken to mean that the US policy of ambiguity regarding Israel's reported nuclear arsenal was unchanged and Israel would not be pressed to joint the NPT.
Netanyahu praised the latest round of UN sanctions against Iran and the new US measures. He urged other countries to follow the US president's lead and initiate much tougher sanctions. Only then will it be possible to tell if they are biting enough to prevent Iran attaining a nuclear weapon, said the Israeli prime minister.
The US president did not reply directly when asked if he had asked Israel to extend the 10-month settlement-Jerusalem construction freeze when it expires on September 26. He said he hoped the right climate would enable face-to-face talks to go forward by September and stressed he believes Israel and its prime minister are serious about peace and will take risks to achieve it.
He added that the Israeli people deserved a secure peace – not Iran's proxies next door or rockets falling on them and repeated his call for Palestinian sovereignty and two states living side by side in peace. Confidence-building steps on both sides were important, said Obama. He had discussed Mahmoud Abbas the need to stop "engaging in provocative language, incitement and looking for opportunities to embarrass Israel."
While the US president denied any rift with Israel, Netanyahu praised the cooperation with the US in fields which they both listed as the economy, international relations, military, maintaining Israel's military edge and intelligence-sharing -in ways not always made public Netanyahu added that the special US-Israel bond – which both termed "unbreakable" – was beneficial to the region.
Obama added that the continuing cooperation had broadened since he and Netanyahu came to office and he hoped relations would continue to improve.
The Israeli prime minister and his wife are spending three days in the United States. He is due to meet with Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Jewish American leaders in New York. Sarah Netanyahu will also meet with the First Lady, Michelle Obama.