In Israel, Biden Says U.S. Dedication to Nation’s Security is ‘Absolute’


bidenVice President Joe Biden today began an effort to heal strained ties with Israel, pledging a total U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and declaring that the bonds between the nations were “unbreakable.”

Opening a day of consultations with Israeli leaders, Biden also promoted indirect peace talks, set to begin soon, saying they offered “a moment of real opportunity” in the search for a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.

Biden, the highest-ranking administration official yet to visit Israel, was dispatched by President Obama to try to restore Israeli confidence in the American government that has deteriorated over the last year. Relations between the governments were strained by the Obama administration’s attempts to halt completely Israeli settlement growth in the West Bank.

The administration also is trying to maintain Israeli support for the U.S.-led effort to curtail Iran’s nuclear program through economic and political pressure, rather than military action.

Biden sought to set aside any hint of criticism in the current standoff, saying it was “easy to point fingers at what both sides have done. But it’s also important to give credit for what has been done.”

He praised Israel for its limited, temporary halt of settlement growth and for increasing Palestinians’ ability to move freely in the West Bank.

“The cornerstone of the relationship is our absolute, total, unvarnished commitment to Israel’s security,” he said.

In meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni, Biden emphasized his long personal ties to Israel and his affection for the country.

“It’s good to be home,” he told Peres.

When Netanyahu told Biden that Israel had planted a small stand of trees in honor of his late mother, Biden responded, “My love for your country was watered by this Irish lady.”

The vice president and his team have kept tight control over his message in the first three days of a weeklong trip to the region, in recognition of the delicacy of the moment.

The usually garrulous vice president offered no background briefing for reporters while on the plane and didn’t take questions from Israeli or American reporters in his appearances with Netanyahu or Peres. Biden read from prepared remarks after his two-hour meeting with Netanyahu.

Biden has dealt with Israeli leaders going back to the 1970s and compiled a pro-Israel voting record during his decades in the Senate. He was accompanied on his visit by, among others, White House Mideast advisor Dennis Ross, who worked on Mideast peace issues for Republican as well as Democratic presidents and is a favorite of many Israelis.

{LA Times/Yair Israel}


  1. his promises are vague and his kissing up with regards to his mother is nothing short of bribery now with regards to settlements well his comment is so cynical its sickening to say oh you stopped in a moderate way its just nauseating cuz israel stopped fully and even fixing sidewalks is not possible and what has to other side offered in return? nothing just complaints that its not enough look mr biden if you were a paid marriage counselar you would be out of business but mr biden this is peoples lifes you are playing with so just remember our father in heaven he is watching