NSC head: US supports Israel's safety

Arad: US support for Mideast non-proliferation not a change in policy.

netanyahu obama 311 (photo credit: AP)
netanyahu obama 311
(photo credit: AP)
America has reaffirmed its commitment to Israel’s security needs, National Security Council head Uzi Arad told members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during a Monday morning session.
“America is strategically committed to Israel’s security with regard to international demands on nuclear non-proliferation. [US President Barack] Obama said so himself during his recent meeting with the prime minister, and the American government also conveyed this in writing in recent weeks. That is our insurance certificate,” claimed Arad.
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“In the written declarations issued by America, which arrived in the weeks before the Washington visit, it was said, among other things, that Israel defines for itself its security needs,” he went on. “That is a very significant statement by the White House.”
Obama, he said, reiterated that same message to Netanyahu during their meeting.
Arad emphasized that such assurances were not exceptional from America, and reiterated assurances received from the Clinton administration. However, he denied reports that Obama had given Netanyahu a letter in which he had committed to selling Israel nuclear equipment for civilian purposes.
Arad said that Israel would decide what stance to take on nuclear proliferation in advance of the planned 2012 conference to discuss disarmament in the Middle East.
“It is not just nuclear weapons, but all weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “I do not foresee that Arab states with arsenals of weapons of mass destruction will participate in the conference.”
Even America, claimed Arad, does not see the conference as leading to any immediate practical changes, but rather as a forum for discussion.
America’s support for the May call for nuclear disarmament in the Middle East, Arad said, did not necessarily mark, as was feared at the time, a change in America’s stance regarding Israel’s silence on nuclear issues.
Arad also discussed the Libyan flotilla reportedly en route to Gaza’s shores to challenge Israel’s naval blockade.
“We are monitoring the Libyan flotilla through situation assessments, consultations in limited forums and activities on the international field through organizations in Washington, Cairo and Rome,” Arad said. “It is clear that Israel will not allow the Libyan ship to reach Gaza, but will allow its cargo to reach Gaza after being inspected.”
The national security adviser, who in recent months has been involved in a long and hostile battle for security supremacy with the Defense Ministry, told MKs that the two bodies were ready to bury the hatchet. A format for interoffice cooperation has been drafted, he said, in which a senior Defense Ministry official will begin to work alongside Arad, as will a senior Foreign Ministry official.