If there were no Israel, we’d have to invent one: Biden

If there were no Israel, we’d have to invent one: Biden

If there were no Israel, we’d have to invent one: Biden

US President Obama (R) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House Oval Office. AP photo

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said they would have to invent Israel if it did not already exist as President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House.

“If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved,” Biden said Sept. 30 at a conference in Washington.

“America’s support for Israel’s security is unshakable, period,” Biden said, underlining the commitment that President Obama had to Israel. Biden spoke to J Street, a group promoting a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, shortly after he and President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

Biden warned that there were reasons to be concerned about the region, given the instability caused by Iran’s nuclear program, the Syrian civil war and the ongoing upheavals of the Arab Spring. “The region has gone from the forced calm of dictatorship to the euphoria of revolution,” Politico website quoted Biden as saying. “These changes in the Middle East affect both of our national security interests.”

Step up sanctions, Netanyahu tells Obama

On Iran, Biden said U.S.-led sanctions against Iran had been the most effective sanctions imposed on a regime ever and Washington would never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, adding that Tehran had a choice. He said Iran could suffer deepening economic sanctions or negotiate its way back into the global community and economy.

Biden also said this moment may offer the best opportunity for the Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The peace talks were re-launched in late July after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent months shuttling back and forth to bring the two sides back to the table.

During their White House meeting, Netanyahu urged Obama to step up sanctions on Iran if it pursued its nuclear drive even as Tehran exchanged overtures with Washington and restarted negotiations with the West. Seeking to reassure Israel about the emerging U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran, Obama said Tehran must prove its sincerity with actions, insisting that Washington would not ease sanctions prematurely and reaffirmed U.S. readiness to resort to military action if all else failed.

Netanyahu visited the White House three days after Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone in the highest-level contact between the countries in more than three decades. The call fueled hopes for a resolution of Iran’s decades-old nuclear standoff with the West.

“It is Israel’s firm belief that if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened,” Netanyahu told reporters a day before he was due to address the United Nations General Assembly. Obama said he was entering negotiations with Iran “clear-eyed” and was ready to test Rouhani’s overtures.

Iran accuses Israel of ‘lies’

TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of lying in his rejection of Tehran’s overtures to the West as a cosmetic “charm offensive.”

“We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare, and international public opinion will not let these lies go unanswered,” Zarif said in an interview. “For 22 years, the Zionist regime has been lying by repeating endlessly that Iran will have the atomic bomb in six months,” Zarif said. “The world must understand the reality of these lies and not allow them to be repeated.”