Netanyahu to Congressmen: U.S., Israel Cooperating Closely

YERUSHALAYIM -

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a delegation of U.S. congressmen visiting Israel that the United States and Israel are cooperating very closely on all issues, including developments in Syria, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“I think this is very important for stability in the region,” the prime minister added at the  meeting on Monday.

President Obama finally called Netanyahu by phone on Monday to congratulate him on winning the elections. According to a White House statement, Obama vowed to work together with Israel for peace and security in the Middle East.

Netanyahu’s comments came as National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror was headed to Russia for consultation on the Syrian crisis, Army Radio reported.

Strategic Affairs Minister and Vice Premier, Moshe Ya’alon, speaking to Army Radio on the prospect of the leaking of chemical weapons from the Syrian army to terrorist groups such as Hizbullah said: “The situation in unstable and is becoming less stable from day to day. The worry stems from the fact that Syria possesses chemical weapons. We can wake up in the morning and see that everything has changed there.”

When questioned about Israeli intentions to intervene militarily in Syria, he replied that “as long as Israel is not threatened, we will not intervene.”

In a separate comment on U.S.-Israel relations, former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said on Monday that President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have “bad chemistry.”

Speaking on Army Radio, Indyk called it a “mistake” for Obama not to visit Yerushalayim since his pre-election trip to Israel in 2008. It is “very important” that Israelis come to see Obama  as “a man that is deeply committed to Israel’s security.”

With regard to Obama’s state of mind, Indyk said that he believes “President Obama is feeling quite frustrated because he rightly feels that he has done the right thing by Israel, but Israel is not responsive.”

Indyk urged Netanyahu to “reach out to President Obama and try to turn a new page.” He added that the “relations between the United States and Israel are more important than the differences between the two leaders.” Referring to these tensions, which have been widely reported, Indyk said that the two heads of state “need to overcome them.”