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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid