This week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Washington for his first meeting with President Barack Obama since the passage of the Iran nuclear deal. It was their first face-to-face conversation in over a year, and while DC journalists largely pitched the meeting as a welcome relief to the normally-tortured U.S.-Israel relations, I wrote yesterday that both leaders appeared almost too careful during the limited time they appeared together before the press.

During this week’s meeting, Netanyahu reportedly spoke at length with Obama over concerns regarding instability in Syria, and the uncertain (in international relations terms) status of the Golan Heights. This territory is important to Israel—especially now, since Islamic jihadists have gained significant control in bordering, war-torn Syria. Both former Ambassador Michael Oren and former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser have publicly called for American recognition of Israeli sovereignty of the Golan, saying that it would help stabilize the region.

More from the Times of Israel:

Israel claims the western Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and took steps to formally annex in 1981. The plateau is considered a critical strategic asset for Israel because it overlooks the towns and villages of much of the Galilee.

The issue was raised briefly by Netanyahu, the sources said, while the two leaders were speaking about the situation in Syria generally.

Netanyahu reportedly said he was doubtful that peace talks underway in Vienna between various outside powers and several factions in the Syrian war would result in reunifying the wartorn country. That reality, he said, “allows us to think differently” about the future status of the Golan, which several American administrations have seen as a key part of any future Israeli-Syrian peace.

Obama did not reply to the Golan reference, and Netanyahu declined to answer reporters questions about the issue on Tuesday.

The idea of raising the Golan issue at this time has been raised by several Israeli public figures close to Netanyahu.

Last night, Netanyahu accepted an award and was featured at a gala sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, and during an on-stage discussion, went into further detail about why securing recognized sovereignty in the Golan is so important to Israeli and greater-Middle Eastern security.

Hint—it has everything to do with Iran, and the possibility of an Iranian proxy war.

Watch:

Last night I spoke at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, where I received the 2015 Irving Kristol Award. In this clip, I explain Israel's policy toward Syria:

  • 1. Israel will not allow Iran to set up a second front in the Golan Heights.
  • 2. Israel will not allow the Syrian army or anybody else to use Syrian territory to attack us.
  • 3. Israel will not allow Syrian territory to be used for the transfer of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel has acted forcefully in this regard and will continue to do so.

Posted by ‎Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו‎ on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

From the PM’s Facebook post:

Last night I spoke at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, where I received the 2015 Irving Kristol Award. In this clip, I explain Israel's policy toward Syria:

  • 1. Israel will not allow Iran to set up a second front in the Golan Heights.
  • 2. Israel will not allow the Syrian army or anybody else to use Syrian territory to attack us.
  • 3. Israel will not allow Syrian territory to be used for the transfer of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel has acted forcefully in this regard and will continue to do so.

Mainstream media commentators are having a total and complete meltdown over this, and for obvious reasons.

Everything Netanyahu is saying here runs counter to the diplomatic*, peace-emphasizing** narrative that the Obama Administration is spinning. We’re talking about real threats from real enemies in an actual disputed territory—not the hypotheticals that backed the support and passage of the Iran deal and a new policy of “putting distance” between the U.S. and Israel.

This week, Obama attempted to frame his disagreements with Netanyahu as “narrow,” when in reality, they constitute a broad gulf separating what is necessary (and scary, and inconvenient,) and what makes for an easy soundbite.

*Not even close
**Please, just stop

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