US affirms support to Israel 'will not waver'



WASHINGTON- The United States "will not waver" in its support and protection of Israel, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday on the eve of the Jewish state's 62nd anniversary.
Despite tensions between President Barack Obama and the administration of hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton stressed that "the United States will continue to stand with you, sharing your risks and helping shoulder your burdens, as we face the future together."



Israeli families and youths from the Masada scout movement stand in front of a burning inscription of Israel's 62nd anniversary during a ceremony to mark Remembrance Day in Jerusalem. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
Israeli families and youths from the Masada scout movement stand in front of a burning inscription of Israel's 62nd anniversary during a ceremony to mark Remembrance Day in Jerusalem. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
"I have a deep personal commitment to Israel. And so does President Obama. Our nation will not waver in protecting Israel's security and promoting Israel's future," she said in a statement.
"Israel today is confronting some of the greatest challenges in its history, but its promise and potential have never been greater."
Monday's anniversary "is an opportunity to celebrate all that Israel has accomplished and to reaffirm the bonds that unite our two nations -- our strategic partnership, our shared values, and our common aspirations," she added.
Clinton noted that in 1948 it took President Harry Truman just 11 minutes to recognize the state of Israel.
"And ever since, the United States has stood with you in solidarity."
The Obama administration "believe(s) it is possible -- indeed necessary -- to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that provides Israelis, Palestinians, and all the people of the region security, prosperity, and the opportunity to live up to their full God-given potential," Clinton said.
But ties have frayed this year. In March, during a visit to the country by US Vice President Joe Biden, Israeli officials announced plans to build 1,600 Jewish settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.
Clinton later called the Israeli move "insulting."
Just days ago Clinton called on Netanyahu to prove his commitment to a Palestinian state, warning that prolonged conflict only strengthened extremists.
Earlier in April Netanyahu announced at the last minute he would not take part in a Obama's nuclear security conference in Washington with 46 other nations, underscoring Israeli reluctance to expose its own nuclear programme to scrutiny.
Weeks before that, Netanyahu and Obama had a tete-a-tete behind closed doors at the White House. The Israel leader returned home with the settlements showdown unresolved, amid some of the most open hostility in US-Israeli relations in years.
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Monday, April 19th 2010
AFP
           


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