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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.