U.S. president tells Channel 2 Israel is unlikely to attack Iran without coordinating with the U.S.
By Haaretz Service
U.S. President Barack Obama told Channel 2 News on Wednesday that he believed Israel would not try to surprise the U.S. with a unilateral attack on Iran.
In an interview aired Thursday evening, Obama was asked whether he was concerned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would try to attack Iran without clearing the move with the U.S., to which the president replied "I think the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is sufficiently strong that neither of us try to surprise each other, but we try to coordinate on issues of mutual concern."
Obama spoke to Channel 2's Yonit Levy one day after what he described as an "excellent" meeting with Netanyahu at the White House. The two leaders met alone for about 90 minutes Tuesday evening, during which time they discussed the peace process with the Palestinians, the contested Iranian nuclear program, and the strategic understandings between their two countries on Tehran's efforts to achieve nuclear capabilities.
Netanyahu promised Obama during their meeting that Israel would undertake confidence-building measures toward the Palestinian Authority in the coming days and weeks. These steps are likely to include the transfer of responsibility over more parts of the West Bank over to PA security forces.
During the interview Wednesday, when confronted with the anxiety that some Israelis feel toward him, Obama said that "some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion."
"Ironically, I've got a Chief of Staff named Rahm Israel Emmanuel. My top political advisor is somebody who is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. My closeness to the Jewish American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate," Obama said.
"I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there's the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy, and the truth of the matter is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West," Obama went on to say.