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Obama and Netanyahu Speak About Security and Peace

U.S. President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu speak by telephone about "regional security issues and Middle East peace."
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/9/2013, 4:12 AM

PM Netanyahu & President Obama
PM Netanyahu & President Obama
Flash 90

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, several days after the alleged Israeli air raids on Syrian targets and as Washington steps up its Middle East peace efforts, AFP reported.

The White House said in a short statement that Obama and Netanyahu, who is visiting China, spoke by telephone, and discussed "regional security issues and Middle East peace."

U.S. officials have declined to comment in detail on air strikes allegedly carried out by Israel on targets near Damascus on Friday and Sunday, which reportedly destroyed Iranian missiles apparently destined for the Hizbullah terror group.

But Obama said on Saturday after the first set of raids that the Jewish state was justified in seeking to "guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hizbullah."

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said on Tuesday that recent alleged Israeli airstrikes in his country are proof that Israel supports the rebels fighting to oust him.

"The attacks exposed the involvement of Israel and other countries in the events in Syria," Assad told visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, according to a report in the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen network, which is affiliated with the Hizbullah terror group.

"The Syrian people and the army have already recorded important achievements in fighting terrorism, and we can contend with the Israeli adventures which constitute one of the faces of terrorism," he added.

Wednesday’s call between Netanyahu and Obama also came as Washington seeks to broker a breakthrough between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier announced he would return to Israel for his fourth trip in his new post later this month.

Kerry is seeking to revive talks between the two sides which have been  stalled since late 2010.

The PA leadership has imposed endless preconditions for talks with Israel. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas demanded a construction freeze in 2010 and, when Israel complied under pressure by U.S. President Barack Obama, Abbas refused to sit down and negotiate.

Abbas recently told visiting Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel should freeze construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and release terrorist prisoners, especially those arrested before the 1993 Oslo Accords, before any resumption of peace talks.