Full Text Israel Political Brief September 21, 2016: President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Remarks Before Bilateral Meeting Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel Before Bilateral Meeting

Source: WH, 9-21-16

Lotte New York Palace Hotel
New York, New York

12:58 P.M. EDT

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Mr. President, it’s very good to see you again.  First, I want to thank you for the Memorandum of Understanding that we signed last week.  It greatly enhances Israel’s security.  It fortifies the principle that you’ve enunciated many times that Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

Secondly, I want to thank you for the extensive security and intelligence cooperation between our two countries.  I don’t think people at large understand the breadth and depth of this cooperation, but I know it.  And I want to thank you on behalf of all the people of Israel.

Third, I want to thank you for the many meetings we’ve had in which we discussed how to confront common challenges and how to seize common opportunities.  The greatest challenge is, of course, the unremitting fanaticism.  The greatest opportunity is to advance a global peace.  That’s a goal that I and the people of Israel will never give up on.

We’ve been fortunate that, in pursuing these two tasks, Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America, and America has no greater friend than Israel.  Our alliance has grown decade after decade, through successive presidents, a bipartisan Congress, and the overwhelming support of the American people.  It’s an unbreakable bond based on common values, buttressed by common interest, and bound by a shared destiny.

And I want to thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to once again discuss how we can shape that destiny together.  And I’d like to add, if I may, one final point.  As you conclude your presidency, I know you’re going to be busy with many, many things, much more than improving what I hear is a terrific golf game.  (Laughter.)  Your voice, your influential voice will be heard for many decades.  And I know you’ll continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and its right to thrive as a Jewish state.  So I want you to know, Barack, that you’ll always be a welcome guest in Israel.

And, by the way, I don’t play golf, but right next to my home in Caesarea, in Israel, is a terrific golf course.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We’ll set up a tee time.  (Laughter.)

Thank you.  Thank you so much.

Well, it’s good to once again welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu and his delegation here.  I want to start by just sending a message that all of the American people, my entire administration, and me, personally, are thinking about Shimon Peres — a great friend, a hero, and giant in the history of Israel.  And we are hopeful that he will have a speedy recovery.
I’ve always joked whenever I’ve seen Shimon that I wanted to see what he ate and what he did, because he’s always looked so good.  I know this has been a challenging time for him and his family, but I wanted to make sure that I relay my gratitude to him for his friendship and his leadership, and helping to forge a strong U.S.-Israeli bond.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu mentioned, the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable.  It is based on common values, family ties, a recognition that a Jewish state of Israel is one of our most important allies, and a guiding principle throughout my presidency — one that I’ve expressed often to the Prime Minister — is, is that it is important for America’s national security to ensure that we have a safe and secure Israel, one that can defend itself.

And so the Memorandum of Understanding that we recently signed I think is indicative of that.  What it does is provide an assurance and a foundation for the kinds of ongoing military and intelligence cooperation that has been the hallmark of our relationship.  It allows I think Israeli planners the kind of certainty in a moment where there’s enormous uncertainty in the region.  It is a very difficult and dangerous time in the Middle East, and we want to make sure that Israel has the full capabilities it needs in order to keep the Israeli people safe and secure.

This will give us an opportunity to talk about the challenges that arise out of situations like Syria.  I’ll also be interested in hearing from the Prime Minister his assessment of conditions within Israel and in the West Bank.  Obviously, our hearts go out to those who have been injured, both Israeli and Palestinian.  Clearly, there is great danger of not just terrorism, but also flare-ups of violence.  We do have concerns around settlement activity, as well.  And our hope is that we can continue to be an effective partner with Israel in finding a path to peace.

Obviously, I’m only going to be President for another few months.  The Prime Minister will be there quite a bit longer.  And our hope will be that in these conversations we get a sense of how Israel sees the next few years, what the opportunities are and what the challenges are in order to assure that we keep alive the possibility of a stable, secure Israel at peace with its neighbors, and a Palestinian homeland that meets the aspirations of their people.

But obviously, these are challenging times.  One thing I can say about Prime Minister Netanyahu is he has always been candid with us, and his team has cooperated very effectively with ours. We very much appreciate it.  And I guarantee you that I will visit Israel often, because it is a beautiful country with beautiful people.  And Michelle and the girls I think resent the fact that I’ve not taken them on most of these trips, so they’re insistent that I do take them.  Of course, they will appreciate the fact that the next time I visit Israel I won’t have to sit in bilats — (laughter) — but instead can enjoy the sights and sounds of a remarkable country.

So thank you very much.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Thank you.

END

1:06 P.M. EDT

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Israel Musings October 8, 2014: Netanyahu, Obama Administration fight over Jerusalem building, American values

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Netanyahu, Obama Administration fight over Jerusalem building, American values

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s friendly White House meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 was too good to be true considering their track record. It was not destined to last long, within hours Obama…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 4, 2013: Sen. John McCain delivers harsh critique of Obama foreign policy at AIPAC, says U.S. concessions to Iran “doomed to failure”

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

McCain delivers harsh critique of Obama foreign policy at AIPAC, says U.S. concessions to Iran “doomed to failure”

John McCain

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered a sobering view of the present situation in the Middle East along with a harsh critique of the Obama administration’s foreign policy strategy at this morning’s Foreign Policy Roundtable at American Israeli Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual policy conference in Washington, D.C….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief January 25, 2013: Ehud Barak: US Could Strike Iran

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Barak: U.S. Could Strike Iran

If sanctions fail to halt Tehran’s nuclear weapons development, the Pentagon has plans for a ‘surgical operation’ to end the threat, the Israeli defense minister told The Daily Beast in a wide-ranging interview at Davos….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief January 17, 2013: Israel hints at apology to Turkey over Gaza flotilla

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel hints at apology to Turkey over Gaza flotilla

Source: Jerusalem Post , 1-17-13

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Turkish daily Hürriyet on Thursday that Israel may use diplomatic language inspired by the letter sent by Washington to Islamabad over the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in order end the impasse with Ankara….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief November 25, 2012: Turkey, Israel resume reconciliation talks

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Turkey, Israel resume reconciliation talks

Source: JTA, 11-25-12

Israel and Turkey resumed informal reconciliation talks….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets With Turkish Journalists: We Want to Restore Relations with Turkey

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu: We Want to Restore Relations with Turkey

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets Turkish journalists, says Turkey and Israel are looking for ways to normalize relations.
Netanyahu meets Turkish journalists

Netanyahu meets Turkish journalists
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Turkey and Israel are looking for ways to normalize political relations, saying, “We want to restore relations with Turkey.”

Netanyahu spoke to a group of Turkish journalists in Jerusalem and his comments were reported by the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.

“In a region where instability reigns, Israel and Turkey are two quite stable countries. I believe in [our] common interest,” Netanyahu told the journalists, adding that Turks and Jews have a long history.

The newspaper noted that the conversation between Netanyahu and the Turkish journalists was the first time since the May 2010 incident on the Mavi Marmara, which occurred when the ship tried to break the blockade on Gaza and refused to turn aside when ordered to. When IDF soldiers boarded the ship they were violently attacked. Soldiers opened fire in response, killing nine Turkish activists.

The incident caused Israel’s relationship with Turkey, already strained, to break down completely. Turkish leaders demanded an apology, but Israeli leaders refused, saying Israel had acted in self-defense.

Today’s Zaman noted that Netanyahu received the Turkish journalists in the same room where Israel’s National Security Cabinet meets. In the back, behind Netanyahu both Israeli and Turkish flags stood….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 22, 2012: Vice President Joe Biden Reassures Jewish Leaders at Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations ‘All Options on Table’ with Iran

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Biden Reassures Jewish Leaders ‘All Options on Table’

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told American Jewish leaders Tuesday “all options are on the table” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Source: Israel National News, 5-22-12

VP Joseph Biden Meets with Conference of Presidents
VP Joseph Biden Meets with Conference of Presidents
Israel News photo courtesy of Joshua Roberts

Speaking with 70 leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Washington, Biden and other senior Obama administration officials briefed the leaders on U.S. foreign policy.

The emphasis was on Iran, which secured an apparent agreement with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency that Israel sees as not being strong enough to deter Iran from its nuclear ambitions. The deal is supposed to allow United Nations nuclear inspectors to visit Iran’s nuclear sites.

Iranian officials are to meet in Baghdad on Wednesday with the “P5 + 1,” comprised of the five United Nations Security Council permanent members and Germany.

Iran is to receive a proposal that is expected to include its agreement to shut down a high-grade uranium enrichment operation. Israeli leaders are strongly skeptical of any agreement that does not require Iran to stop all enrichment of uranium, a key element for a nuclear weapon.

At the meeting with Jewish leaders, the American officials, including Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough reiterated the administration’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security.

The Conference leaders routinely meet with White House officials once a year, but Tuesday’s meeting was politically important because of the presidential elections in November.

Virtually all polls show that President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who has sewn up the GOP nomination, are running neck and-neck, with a marginal advantage to Romney.

Readout of the Vice President’s Meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Vice President Biden met today at the White House with representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The Vice President addressed the Obama Administration’s unprecedented support for Israel’s security; our steadfast opposition to any attempts to delegitimize Israel; and our commitment to a lasting, secure peace that is in the interest of Israelis, Palestinians and the United States. The Vice President also discussed a range of regional issues, including Iran. The Vice President praised attendees for their support of a strong relationship between the United States and Israel and the broad range of policy, charitable and intellectual pursuits in which they are engaged.

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