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DETAILS: What Has Obama Said About the U.S. Relationship With Israel?

Ahead of Monday's final presidential debate, which will focus on foreign policy, we're taking a look at the key issues at play. Undoubtedly, one of the topics discussed will be the U.S. relationship with Israel. Below is a look at the number of times President Obama has met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since taking office.

May 18, 2009 at the White House

September 22, 2009 in New York City

November 9, 2009 at the White House

March 23, 2010 at the White House

July 6, 2010 at the White House

September 1, 2010 at the White House

May 20, 2011 at the White House

September 21, 2011 at the United Nations

March 5, 2012 at the White House


Here are some of the president's key comments on the relationship between the United States and Israel.

Address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, September 21, 2011

But understand this as well: America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.

Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel's citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel's children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than 8 million people, look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution and fresh memories of knowing that 6 million people were killed simply because of who they are. Those are facts. They cannot be denied.

The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.


Remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2012

The United States and Israel share interests, but we also share those human values that Shimon spoke about: A commitment to human dignity. A belief that freedom is a right that is given to all of God’s children. An experience that shows us that democracy is the one and only form of government that can truly respond to the aspirations of citizens.

America’s Founding Fathers understood this truth, just as Israel’s founding generation did. President Truman put it well, describing his decision to formally recognize Israel only minutes after it declared independence. He said, "I had faith in Israel before it was established. I believe it has a glorious future before it -- as not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization."

For over six decades, the American people have kept that faith. Yes, we are bound to Israel because of the interests that we share -- in security for our communities, prosperity for our people, the new frontiers of science that can light the world. But ultimately it is our common ideals that provide the true foundation for our relationship. That is why America’s commitment to Israel has endured under Democratic and Republican Presidents, and congressional leaders of both parties. (Applause.) In the United States, our support for Israel is bipartisan, and that is how it should stay. (Applause.)


Remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2012

Let’s begin with a basic truth that you all understand: No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction. And so I understand the profound historical obligation that weighs on the shoulders of Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, and all of Israel’s leaders.

A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel’s security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States.


Remarks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2012

The fact is, my Administration’s commitment to Israel’s security has been unprecedented. Our military and intelligence cooperation has never been closer. Our joint exercises and training have never been more robust. Despite a tough budget environment, our security assistance has increased every year. We are investing in new capabilities. We’re providing Israel with more advanced technology – the type of products and systems that only go to our closest friends and allies. And make no mistake: we will do what it takes to preserve Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge – because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.


Remarks at the Department of State, May 19, 2011

Now ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them, not by the United States, not by anybody else. But endless delay won't make the problem go away. What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows: a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples—Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people—each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

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