Obama in Israel: His 'unwavering support' for the Jewish state
Talk is cheap and Obama is the cheapest of them all.
Vowing eternal support for America's top Mideast ally, U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday assured Israel of his personal commitment to its security and delivered a blunt warning to its foes that the United States has the Jewish state's back.
Arriving in Israel on his first trip to the country as president, Obama told the Israeli people at an extravagant welcoming ceremony that "peace must come to the Holy Land" and that goal would not be achieved at Israel's expense. U.S. backing for Israel will be a constant as the Middle East roils with revolution and Iran continues work on its nuclear program, he said.
"The United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend," Obama said, accepting profuse thanks from Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the tarmac at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.
"Across this region the winds of change bring both promise and peril," he said, calling his visit "an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our nations, to restate America's unwavering commitment to Israel's security, and to speak directly to the people of Israel and to your neighbors."
Seeking to alter a perception among many Israelis that his government has been less supportive of Israel than previous U.S. administrations, Obama declared the U.S.-Israeli alliance "eternal."
"It is forever," he said to applause as Israeli and U.S. flags fluttered in a steady breeze under clear, sunny skies.
Even before leaving the airport for Jerusalem, Obama offered a vivid display of the U.S. commitment to Israeli security by visiting a missile battery that is part of Israel's Iron Dome defense from militant rocket attacks. The United States has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the system with Israel.
Now that he no longer has to court the Jewish vote to win an election, one can imagine how "eternal" the US alliance with Israel will be. This is especially true when it comes to Iran, who the president just sent a friendly message to prior to his visit to Israel. If Iran gives him half a chance, he will sell out Netanyahu and the Jewish state.
Fortunately, Iran has no intention of signing a deal that would prevent them from building a nuclear weapon. But who knows what the president will do in his eagerness to ink an agreement? Iran will hold presidential elections in June and Obama may feel he can get a better deal from any new Iranian president than Ahmadinejad.
Netanyahu won't wait around forever. Despite the monumental difficulties of a strike on Iran, the Israeli prime minister has made it clear he will take that route if Iran shows the capability of buildinga bomb. Some experts believe Iran already has the wherewithal to construct a weapon, although they are years away from building a warhead that could deliver it.
There are some Israelis who believe Obama is there to warn Netanyahu against attacking Iran. If so, the president's pleas will almost certainly fall on deaf ears. US presidents come and go but if there is an existential threat to the Jewish state, you can be sure that the Israeli prime minister won't hesitate to confront it.