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      Obama: No Crisis with Israel, It’s Eli Yishai’s Fault

      US Pres didn't mention him by name, but said the Shas party leader, Israel’s Interior Minister, was “not helpful” in advancing the “peace process.”
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 3/18/2010, 9:44 AM

      U.S. President Obama did not mention Eli Yishai by name, but said that the Shas party leader, Israel’s Interior Minister, was “not helpful” in advancing the “peace process.”

      Speaking on Wednesday with Fox News, Obama said outright there is no “crisis” with Israel. Relations between the U.S. Administration and the Netanyahu government have been edgy in the wake of several consecutive harsh public American rebukes to Israel for announcing progress in a complex housing approval process in a Jerusalem neighborhood during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel.

      Asked if there is a crisis between the two countries, Obama said flatly, “No. Israel’s one of our closest allies and we and the Israeli people have a special bond that’s not going to go away. But friends are going to disagree sometimes. There is a disagreement in terms of how we can move this peace process forward [and] the actions that were taken by the Interior Minister in Israel weren’t helpful to that process, Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged as much and apologized for it.”

      Trying to show that the Americans were being impartially tough to both sides, Obama said, “When there were riots [on Tuesday] by the Palestinians against a synagogue that had been reopened [the ancient Hurva synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem], we condemned them in the same way…”

      In fact, however, the U.S. condemnations of the rioting were not nearly as strident, rapid-fire or issued by as many different officials as were those of Israel. Nor did they condemn the PA stridently for honoring the Coastal Road terrorist last week on the anniversary of the 1979 massacre of tens of Israelis.

      Regarding Iran and the increasingly likely possibility that Iran will succeed in going nuclear, Obama once again did not put his foot down hard.

      Iran Nukes Would be "Tremendously Damaging to Our Interests"
      “It is one of our highest priorities to make sure that Iran doesn’t possess a nuclear weapon,” he said. “That is why I’ve worked so hard to mobilize the international community, successfully, to isolate Iran… The Iranian government has been more concerned about preventing their people from exercising their democratic and human rights than trying to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why we’re going to go after aggressive sanctions… If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, you could potentially see a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East, and that would be tremendously damaging to our national security interests.”