Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Obama at the White House Oct. 1, 2014 (Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO) Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Obama at the White House Oct. 1, 2014 (Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear capability was at the top of the agenda for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting Wednesday with US President Barack Obama.

Defeating the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group is important, but stopping Iran from gaining nuclear power is even more essential, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama prior to their meeting Wednesday at the White House.

The “new Middle East” presents new dangers and new opportunities, Netanyahu said, reiterating one of the points he had made Tuesday in his address to the UN General Assembly.

“As for the new dangers, Israel fully supports your effort and your leadership to defeat ISIS,” Netanyahu continued. “We think everybody should support this. And even more critical is our shared goal of preventing Iran from becoming a military nuclear power. As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions you worked so hard to put in place, and leave it as a threshold nuclear power, and I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen.”

Obama, whose remarks preceded Netanyahu’s, said he would debrief the Israeli leader “on the work that we’re doing to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL [ISIS] and the broader agenda that I discussed at the United Nations, which is mobilizing a coalition not only for military action, but also to bring about a shift in Arab states and Muslim countries that isolate the cancer of violent extremism that is so pernicious and ultimately has killed more Muslims than anything else.

“And we’ll also have an opportunity to discuss the progress that’s being made with respect to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, which obviously has been a high priority for not only Israel, but also the United States and the world community.”

In contrast to Netanyahu’s statement, Obama’s remarks placed a stronger emphasis on resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In their private meeting, Obama said, they would “discuss intensively both the situation of rebuilding Gaza, but also how can we find a more sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

For his part, Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution “based on mutual recognition and rock-solid security arrangements on the ground,” and he spoke of finding a new approach to the peace process that would involve other Arab countries.

Israel and US share ‘Unbreakable Bond’

The two leaders expressed appreciation for the strong ties between their countries.

“Israel is obviously in a very turbulent neighborhood,” said Obama, “and this gives us an opportunity once again to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and our ironclad commitment to making sure that Israel is secure.”

The two world leaders shake hands at the White House Oct. 1, 2014. (Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Netanyahu (L) and Obama shake hands at the White House Oct. 1, 2014. (Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Americans should be proud “of the contributions that we made to the Iron Dome program to protect the lives of Israelis at a time when rockets were pouring into Israel on a regular basis,” he added.

Netanyahu thanked Obama “for the unflinching support you gave Israel” during Operation Protective Edge this past summer, which included “an additional installment of support for Iron Dome, which has saved so many lives.” He also expressed gratitude for “the continuous bond of friendship that is so strong between Israel and the United States.”

Author: Joanne Hill
Staff Writer, United with Israel