Though U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not meet this week as planned, Netanyahu will be returning to Israel with an unequivocal guarantee that Israel's strategic capabilities will be maintained. Officials in Jerusalem reported on Sunday that Obama had promised that Israeli deterrence would be unharmed.
This promise was given before Obama's decision to vote with the United Nations for a resolution singling out Israel over its alleged possession of nuclear weapons.
The latest understandings with America are a “significant step up” in ties, the Jerusalem sources said.
The Obama administration voted Friday in favor of a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty resolution, despite Obama's subsequent criticism of the bill as “flawed and hypocritical” for singling out Israel. Analysts said America's signature may have been an attempt to garner support for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
Prime Minister's Office officials said the NPT vote “ignores the realities of the Middle East.” Obama and the U.S. were widely criticized in Israel for supporting the resolution, and were accused of achieving international consensus on nuclear weapons at the expense of Israel's very existence. The United States was also cited for enabling the abuse of nuclear weapons by radical Islamic elements.
Sources close to Netanyahu said the Prime Minister has been working on several fronts to ensure that the NPT vote would not detract from Israel's security. His efforts included contact with Obama, they said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Obama in May and received a warm welcome. During the meeting Obama pledged $205 million to help Israel build the controversial Iron Dome anti-missile system.