Wednesday, March 10, 2010

US Reassures Israel Over Security

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Al Jazeera English /

Joe Biden, the US vice-president, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, have held talks over the perceived threat posed by Iran and on reviving the Middle East peace process. After the meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Biden reassured Israel that the US stood alongside them in terms of security. "Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows that there is simply no space between the United States and Israel," he said. "The is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel's security. And for that reason, and many others, addressing Iran's nuclear programme has been one of our administration's priorities." Netanyahu thanked the US administration for attempting to limit Iran's nuclear programme, which they claim is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, contrary to Iran's pronouncements that it is solely for civilian purposes, via sanctions.

He also reaffirmed that one of Israel's security priorities is to ensure that Iran does not build a nuclear arsenal. "The Iranian regime will have to chose between advancing its nuclear programme and advancing the future of its own permanence," Netanyahu said. Shadi Hamid, the deputy director of the Brookings Institute, told Al Jazeera that the point of Biden's visit was to show Washington's commitment to Israel's security and resistance to Tehran's nuclear programme. "That was something that Netanyahu and the Israeli public really wanted to hear from Biden in unequivocal terms. And Biden succeeded in getting across that message," Hamid said. Hamid said that the talks should calm recent Israeli portentousness concerning Iran. "It would be very difficult now for Israel to talk about a pre-emptive strike so soon after Biden's visit. There would be quite a bit of dissonance there if Israel did that." (Read more...)