Jim Kouri
U.S.-Israeli relationship never stronger, says Defense Secretary
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By Jim Kouri
March 25, 2011

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said during his visit in Tel Aviv on Thursday that the United States and Israel's relationship has never been stronger and that both nations should stand together "as we contemplate and work with the extraordinary change that is taking place around the region."

According to Cheryl Pellerin of American Forces Press Service, before his meeting with Israel's President Shimon Peres, Gates stated that the unprecedented number of citizen uprisings in diverse countries brings with it challenges and opportunities. "The key," he added, "is to minimize the challenges and maximize the opportunities."

Peres echoed the secretary's comments. "We are aware there is a window of change in the Middle East," he said, "and we, very much like you, stand on the side of ... freedom, democracy, security and peace."

While Israel is concerned about the daily problem of defense, Peres said, "we're not overlooking this historic confrontation."

Gates expressed American sympathy "for the families of those who were killed and wounded in the terrorist attack in Jerusalem yesterday, and our deep concern about the rocket attacks coming out of Gaza against the people of Israel."

Gates appeared to downplay what were perceived by many as the Obama Administration's missteps and mishandling of the valuable U.S.-Israeli relationship.

One Republican leader, former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer claims President Barack Obama displayed an "outrageous hostility toward the only reliable democratic friend we have in the Middle East."

Also, Gates made no mention of Israel's interception of a ship carrying rockets and other lethal weapons from Iran and Syria that were headed for delivery to Hamas in Gaza.

Members of the terrorist group Hamas had launched attacks against Israel from their base in Gaza during the weekend of March 18, and the Israeli intelligence service says they have proof that the Iranian government is instigating these latest attacks by providing the rockets and mortars.

Terrorists launched more than 50 rockets which landed in southern Israel on one Saturday morning attack with the aim of causing maximum — and indiscriminate — death and destruction, according to Israeli government officials.

These latest rocket attacks were the heaviest barrage in two years, Israeli officials said. Meanwhile while Hamas police beat up and confiscated equipment from reporters covering the attack.

This massive assault comes just days after Israel seized a cargo ship, Victoria , carrying rockets and other lethal weapons from Iran and Syria that were headed for delivery to Hamas in Gaza.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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