President Obama welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House this morning, where the two met on a number of issues including the situation in Gaza and the work to degrade and destroy ISIL.
In remarks to the press, the President noted that this meeting "gives us an opportunity once again to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and our ironclad commitment to making sure that Israel is secure."
The President discussed the importance of America's contributions to Israel's Iron Dome missile-defense program, but emphasized the need to "change the status quo" to ensure the safety of both Israelis and Palestinians:
Throughout the summer, obviously all of us were deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza. I think the American people should be very proud of the contributions that we made to the Iron Dome program to protect the lives of Israelis at a time when rockets were pouring into Israel on a regular basis. I think we also recognize that we have to find ways to change the status quo so that both Israeli citizens are safe in their own homes and schoolchildren in their schools from the possibility of rocket fire, but also that we don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.
-- President Barack Obama
The President also said he would debrief the Prime Minister on our efforts against ISIL, and that the two would discuss the progress being made in respect to dealing with Iran's nuclear program.
Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his gratitude for the "unflinching support" that the United States has given Israel, and thanked the President for the opportunity to meet and discuss the challenges facing both the U.S. and Israel in the Middle East.
"There's definitely a new Middle East," the Prime Minister said. "I think it poses new dangers, but it also presents new opportunities."
As for the dangers, Israel fully supports your effort and your leadership to defeat ISIS. We think everybody should support this. And even more critical is our shared goal of preventing Iran from becoming a military nuclear power.
As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you’ve worked so hard to put in place, and leave it as a threshold nuclear power. I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen.
Equally, I think that there are opportunities. And the opportunities, as you just expressed, is something that is changing in the Middle East, because out of the new situation, there emerges a commonality of interests between Israel and leading Arab states. And I think that we should work very hard together to seize on those common interests and build a positive program to advance a more secure, more prosperous and a more peaceful Middle East.
Read the full remarks here, or watch the video below: