U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney kicked off his official visit to Israel Sunday morning in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. After their meeting Netanyahu and Romney gave a statement, in which they have emphasized the importance of a “strong and credible military threat” over Iran.
“I heard what you said about the dangers the world is facing if the Ayatollah regime obtains nuclear power capabilities and I fully agree with you,” Netanyahu said. ”We have to do everything from preventing them to possess this capability. The diplomacy and the sanctions haven’t set back the Iranian program back by one iota.”
Romney said he wanted to hear Netanyahu’s perspective on the issue and discuss “further options” in preventing Iran from reaching that ability. Ahead of their meeting, Romney’s aide told Israeli media that the Republican candidate would back Israel in case it will strike against Iran.
“If Israel has to take action to stop Iran, the governor ( Romeny) would respect that decision,” Dan Senor, senior national security aide for Romney told Israeli press.
The White House hopeful seeks to burnish his foreign policy credentials during the visit and seek American Jews’ support by proving he is a “better friend to Israel” than the current president and Democratic rival Barack Obama.
He charged that Obama’s foreign policy towards Iran is not tough enough. However, several reports over the weekend and Sunday morning may hurt Romney’s agenda. Obama made a show of support for Israel on Friday by signing a law reinforcing U.S. security and military cooperation with Israel.
Also on Sunday morning, Israel’s Ha’aretz daily published that U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon briefed Netanyahu on Washington’s contingency plans for pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Obama administration has vehemently opposed Israel’s possible plan to strike at Iran until all other diplomatic means were carried out.
According to the report, Donilon sought to make clear the United States is seriously preparing for the possibility that the negotiations will “reach a dead end.” Israeli officials refused to comment on the report.
During the rest of his visit Romney will meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz.