Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama at the White House on Monday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. The two-hour meeting, which took place in the Oval Office, came amid rising concerns in the international community that Israel will launch a preemptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
While PM Netanyahu denied that Israel already made the decision to launch a preemptive strike against Iran, he warned President Obama that Iran’s leaders view the U.S. as the “Great Satan” and Israel as the “Little Satan.” “We are you, and you are us. We are together,” said the Prime Minister, who also offered Obama a gift of the biblical Book of Esther, which tells the story of an evil Persian king who ultimately fails in his attempt to annihilate the Jewish people.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama during their meeting, Monday, March, 5, 2012, in the Oval Office.
In their meeting, Netanyahu explained that Israel has the sovereign right to respond to threats against its national security and that his “supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate.” He also insisted that Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Fordo be shut down along with a comprehensive freeze of Iran’s enrichment program and the removal of any uranium in the country enriched beyond 3.5 percent.
President Obama, holding a seemingly different view, expressed that “The United States will always have Israel’s back,” but more time is necessary to allow economic sanctions to deter Iran’s nuclear program. Despite his vow that “All options are on the table,” he did not explicitly mention the appropriate time for military force and instead emphasized that the window for diplomatic resolution was still open.
Despite President Obama’s commitment to preventing a nuclear Iran through diplomatic measures, PM Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a speech later that day, “We waited for diplomacy to work; we’ve waited for sanctions to work; none of us can afford to wait much longer.”
President Obama’s foreign policy, which resembles the gaffe of appeasement, is clear in its aim to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but currently leaves room for Iran to do exactly that. As Obama continues to rely on a window for diplomatic resolution, the door for action is closing.