During an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, President Barack Obama said that his “absolute commitment” that if Israel were “attacked by any state, that we would stand by them” and that it “should be sufficient” for them “to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and accept his Iran nuclear deal as a good step forward.
Obama said, “Now, what you might hear from Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, which I respect, is the notion, ‘Look, Israel is more vulnerable. We don’t have the luxury of testing these propositions the way you do,’ and I completely understand that. And further, I completely understand Israel’s belief that given the tragic history of the Jewish people, they can’t be dependent solely on us for their own security.”
“But what I would say to them is that not only am I absolutely committed to making sure that they maintain their qualitative military edge, and that they can deter any potential future attacks,” he continued. “But what I’m willing to do is to make the kinds of commitments that would give everybody in the neighborhood, including Iran, a clarity that if Israel were to be attacked by any state, that we would stand by them. And that, I think, should be sufficient to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table.”
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