News / Middle East

Hagel Emphasizes US-Israeli Ties

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, listens at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the latter's office in Jerusalem, April 23, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, listens at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the latter's office in Jerusalem, April 23, 2013.
Scott Bobb
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States and Israel need to maintain close ties in order to face increasingly complicated challenges in the Middle East. Hagel made the remark Tuesday as he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the last day of a three-day visit to Israel.

“This is a difficult and dangerous time," Hagel said. "This is a time when friends and allies must remain close, closer than ever.”

The defense secretary said that working together the two countries could make the Middle East better and more secure.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that he appreciated the two countries' deep alliance and their defense of common interests and values.

“Nowhere are these values and interests challenged more than by the arming of the terrorist groups by Iran with sophisticated weapons and, equally, Iran's attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons. This is a challenge that Israel cannot accept,” Netanyahu noted.

Iran says its nuclear program has peaceful ambitions. But Netanyahu said Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat. Hagel earlier said the U.S. government supports Israel but disagrees on the timing of a possible Israeli military strike against Iran.

Israel was the first stop on Hagel's five-nation tour of the Middle East. It came as the U.S. government announced it would permit the sale of $10 billion worth of advanced U.S. weapons to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Hagel is visiting the three countries as well as Jordan and Egypt. Topics high on the agenda include not only concern over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program but also Syria's civil war and regional turmoil caused by the upheaval known as the Arab Spring.

Syria, chemical weapons

As the two leaders were meeting in Jerusalem, a senior Israeli officer told a security conference in Tel Aviv that Israel has evidence that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons against Syrian rebels.

The head of the Israeli army's military intelligence division, Brigadier-General Itai Brun, said photos of victims taken in Syria showed signs that they had died of poisoning from a nerve gas that he said most likely was Sarin.

Brun said Israelis must be very concerned should these weapons reach the hands of irresponsible sectors. He added that the concern exists and Israeli officials have to see how the reality evolves in the near future.

Israel and the United States are worried that stockpiles of Syrian chemical weapons could fall into the hands of extremists as rebels advance in their battle to overthrow the Syrian government.

Both governments have said using such weapons could bring international intervention.

Hagel was asked about such reports Monday but said the U.S. did not yet have conclusive evidence of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Hans F. from: Germany
April 23, 2013 5:05 PM
European consensus is that Hagel is learning fast. He overcome his debilitating "education" and gross political opportunism to realized that Israel, size notwithstanding, is an intelligence superpower on whose technological and HUMIT capabilities the free world has come to depend.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid