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Gates: U.S.-Israeli Defense Relationship Never Stronger

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

TEL AVIV, Israel, March 24, 2011 – Noting that their military relationship has never been stronger, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today that the United States and Israel should stand together “as we contemplate and work with the extraordinary change that is taking place around the region.”

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates meets with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 24, 2011. DOD photo by Cherie Cullen

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Before a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Gates said the unprecedented number of citizen uprisings in diverse countries brings with it challenges and opportunities. “The key,” he added, “is to minimize the challenges and maximize the opportunities.”

Peres echoed the secretary’s comments. “We are aware there is a window of change in the Middle East,” he said, “and we, very much like you, stand on the side of … freedom, democracy, security and peace.”

While Israel is concerned about the daily problem of defense, Peres said, “we’re not overlooking this historic confrontation.”

Gates expressed American sympathy “for the families of those who were killed and wounded in the terrorist attack in Jerusalem yesterday, and our deep concern about the rocket attacks coming out of Gaza against the people of Israel.”

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Robert M. Gates

Related Sites:
Special Report: Travels With Gates
Photo Essay: Gates Meets With Israeli President, Defense Minister


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