WASHINGTON – Obama expresses support for Israel: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is currently visiting the United States, received an unexpected phone call from Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama Tuesday.
During the conversation, Obama expressed his condolences to the Israeli people and to the bereaved families in the wake of the terror attack in the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem last week that left eight people dead.
The Illinois senator also stressed Israel's right to defend itself and made it clear that both the US and Israel were interested in ensuring that Iran will not be acquiring nuclear weapons.
The foreign minister reportedly told Obama that there was a direct link between terrorism and Iran in the Middle East, and stressed the need for a firm international stance vis-à-vis Teheran.
According to a Livni associate, Obama also expressed his appreciation over Israel's insistence to continue its negotiations with the Palestinians. The foreign minister reportedly stressed that Hamas was deliberately attempting to hurt Israeli civilians while taking cover behind Palestinian civilians. For that reason, Livni said Israeli civilian casualties should not be compared to Palestinian casualties.
The foreign minister also told Obama that the situation in Gaza was worsening as a result of arms smuggling into the Strip. She noted that many Israelis were currently under Hamas' rocket threat.
Livni reportedly said that Israel was adopting a dual strategy by attempting to reach understandings with moderate Palestinians while acting firmly against terrorism.
Roni Sofer contributed to the report