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Obama and Israel

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Obama Secretly Tells Iran US Will Not Help Israel--Media Reports

September 3rd 2012

Israeli Jets Parked

Contrary to recent claims that its military coordination with Israel is excellent, the U.S. has secretly informed Iran that it will not participate in an Israeli air strike on its nuclear facilities.

According to a report published Monday in the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aharonot: "Senior administration officials reportedly sent messages to Iran, through diplomats from two European states, addressing the possibility that Israel would launch a unilateral strike and establishing that the US expects Iran to not draw it into a conflict by firing on American army bases and aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. The report is only the latest in a series of similar stories, all of which appear to illustrate a major rift between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government over Iran.

These have included a public disavowal of involvement in an Israeli strike by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as a report of a major dispute between Netanyahu and the U.S. ambassador, which reportedly ended in a shouting match. There is no rift between the U.S. and Israel or between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the American ambassador to Israel said on Sunday. Speaking to Israel's Channel 2, Ambassador Dan Shapiro admitted that "There is definitely a narrative in the media right now – I'd say an overheated one – about tension between the US and Israel over Iran."

According to Shapiro, these media reports are inaccurate. In fact, he said, Israel and the U.S. are working "intensely" and in "very close coordination." In particular, on the " issue that we perceive the same way, which is the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

Questioned about a recent report in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot that claimed Shapiro and Netanyahu recently had a meeting that ended in a shouting match, Shapiro said "That is a very silly story. The published account of that meeting did not reflect what actually occurred at the meeting." Shapiro asserted that his conversations with the prime minister are always "entirely friendly and professional" and that the two always speak to each other "respectfully."

All of this serves to undermine the Americans' attempt to assuage Israeli fears through the implicit pledge that the U.S. will either act or aid Israel in acting against Iran should sanctions and diplomatic pressure fail.

Ironically, this may make an Israeli strike more likely, since Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak may feel that, in the absence of American help, Israel has no choice but to take unilateral action in order to defend itself.

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