U.S., Israel Mend Ties, Focus on Iran

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JERUSALEM, Israel - President Barack Obama told Israeli TV that Israel is right to be skeptical about the peace process.

Obama is striking a friendlier tone after his meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Also, at this pivotal time in U.S.-Israel relations, three U.S. senators also met with senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week.

The meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put the strained relations between the U.S. and Israel behind them, according to Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Click play for an updated report with CBN News Jerusalem Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell.

"I think we can say with some encouragement that the relationship between the United States and Israel is back on track," Lieberman said.

Despite the difficulties between the White House and Israel, the senators say military and intelligence ties remained strong and Congress was always supportive of the Jewish state.

"The Congress has Israel's back and please never misunderstand that, whatever relationship problems we've had in the past, they've never seeped over to the Congress," Graham said. "The Congress has been united in our view of protecting one of our best allies in the world and that's the State of Israel."

Yet they agreed the overriding concern in the region is Iran's nuclear buildup.

"The Iranians continue to express their commitment to development of nuclear weapons, which obviously has the most serious consequences both for the State of Israel, the United States of America, peace in the world and stability in the entire region," McCain said.

As a result, everyone is worried.

"In our conversations, not just with Israel but equally with our allies in the Arab world, there is profound and intense anxiety about what will happen to them if Iran attains nuclear capacity and uses that nuclear power to extend its hegemonic ambitions throughout the region," Lieberman added.

The senators believe recent stepped up sanctions should be given a chance to take hold against Tehran. Nevertheless, the military option for stopping Iran's nuclear ambition should remain on the table.

And if a military action is necessary, it should strike a serious blow to Iran's military power.

"I think it would be in the world's interest to make sure this regime's ability to strike back is neutered," Graham added. "There should not be a plane that can fly, a ship that can float and their Revolutionary Guard should be greatly diminished."

With Israel-U.S. ties seemingly on the mend, the Middle East and the rest of the world waits to see how events concerning Iran will unfold.

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

Correspondent, CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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