Well, it’s been a long, action-packed day in Jerusalem. President Obama arrived, he planted a tree, the Agriculture Ministry dug it up because it hadn’t been inspected, there were a few meetings between Israeli and American advisers, and finally a long meeting between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The meeting seems to have been about a number of things: Iran’s nuclear program, Syria’s civil war, and the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians in peace negotiations. Following the meeting, the two men emerged and held a press conference. Bibi led with Iran and Syria in the press conference, but perhaps most notable was Netanyahu’s vehement declaration that he is still committed to “two states for two peoples”:
“We extend our hands in peace and friendship to the Palestinians… let us put aside all preconditions and let us work together to achieve a historic compromise that will end our conflict once and for all.”
President Obama talked much about the relationship between Israel and the United States and emphasized his commitment to Israel’s security–as well as showed his grasp of the severity of the issues–and declared that funding for the Iron Dome defense system would not be interrupted. Obama also spoke about his upcoming visit to Mt. Herzl and even quoted from the letters of Yoni Netanyahu, Bibi’s older brother, who was killed while saving Israeli hostages at Entebbe.
The two affirmed that they were very close on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program:
During the meeting, Obama vowed unwavering U.S. support for Israel’s security and said “America’s committment to Israel is stronger than ever before.” He also said that there was “not a lot of daylight” between the two countries’ assessments on Iran, saying that the U.S. would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and would consult with Israel on its efforts, declaring again that “all options were on the table.”
On a lighter note, the two traded barbs about their children; President Obama said that Bibi’s handsome sons got their good looks from their mother and Bibi shot back that the same must be true of the Obama daughters.
Here’s the footage: