“We’ve Got Your Back,” Panetta Tells Israel

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Israel this week to deliver some critical messages — we've got your back covered so don't be afraid to make peace, and don't attack Iran.

In his first visit since taking over at the Pentagon after his stint as CIA chief, Panetta warned Israel it is becoming increasingly isolated globally because it looks like it is all talk and no action when it comes to making peace with the Palestinians. The US and many other governments, most notably Germany, have strongly criticized announced new Israeli construction in Gilo, just across the Green Line south of Jerusalem, as evidence.

Panetta told reporters traveling on his plane to Israel Sunday, “Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? Real security can only be achieved by both a strong diplomatic effort as well as a strong effort to project your military strength.”

His message on Iran: Just because Barack Obama sent you all those bunker buster bombs that George W. Bush withheld doesn't mean we don't agree with the previous administration:  Don't attack Iran alone. Any action must be taken in coordination with the international community, he said. 

Washington recognizes the potential Iranian nuclear threat and wants to "work together to do whatever is necessary" to counter the Iranian nuclear and terrorism threats to the region, he said. 

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.