Mitchell Reports | March 21, 2013
>>> when i consider israel 's security, i also think about a people who have a living memory of the holocaust. faced with the prospect of a nuclear-armed iranian government that has called for israel 's destruction. it's no wonder israelis view this as an ex-stensial threat. it's a danger for the entire world including the united states .
>> and joining me now here in jerusalem is mark regev , the official spokesman for israel 's prime minister, benjamin netenyahu. your reaction to the speech today, the center spooes really of the trip for the president.
>> a few minutes ago, my prime minister, benjamin netenyahu put out a statement praising the speech. he welcomed the president's unequivocal support for our country, for israel and for the american/ israel relationship. he welcomed the president's call for two states for two peoples and trying to get the peace process back on track. and of course, we very much liked the praise he had for our country. the ingenuity, the start-ups, the technology, all the things that makes israel so vibrant.
>> which he in fact saw firsthand with the prime minister today. at the high-tech display, he was fascinated by that. his commitment to iran , however. are you now on the same timeline? there was some confusion after the news conference last night as to whether, when the prime minister said he accepts the timeline of a year to weaponize, but he still has to have concerns, as do all israelis , about the enrichment process, which continues unabated.
>> i think we are very, very close, washington and jerusalem how we see iran . the differences are minute. we are the little bit much more anxious, which is perfectly understandable. the most important thing for us is we've got to stop the enrichment program there in iran . because enrichment is the fuel for a nuclear weapon . and we've got to make sure that the iranians don't continue on enriching uranium.
>> the prime minister has said that diplomacy and sanctions have not worked to stop the enrichment, to stop the process. has the president persuaded the prime minister that he's not bluffing? that you're close enough on the timeline, that obviously a military option is there, and it would be a lot easier to accomplish with joint action or american support for israeli action. so when the prime minister has told the general assembly last fall that spring was the deadline, the red line and he held up that famous -- cartoon --
>> i was there.
>> and you were there, have we now pushed it past the spring?
>> the timing of this is a function of what iranians are doing. and we're watching very, very closely what they're doing. and the sad fact is, despite all the international pressure, despite the economic pressure, the sanctions, despite the diplomatic pressure, they continue to enrich. in fact they've upgraded their enrichment capabilities, they're enriching today, much quicker, much faster than they were this time last year. so the situation is very dangerous. my prime minister believes very sincerely that we have to augment the diplomatic and the economic pressure with military pressure. and the iranians have to understand, the iranian leadership has to understand that one way or another, the international community is simply not going to allow them to get a nuclear weapon . and if they understand that message, if we see the diplomatic process, the economic pressure augmented by military pressure, maybe diplomacy will succeed.
>> the israeli people and prime ministers past and current have really loved previous american presidents . there was no love for barack obama . that was very clear. among israelis . and a lot of argument over the cairo speech, over his not coming here, over his call for a settlement freeze. so whoever got off on the wrong foot, the relationship between the prime minister and the president was not a good one. does a visit like this, the charm offensive or operations desert schmooze, as jeff goldberg called it in "the atlantic." taking off their jackets, dinner at the house, talking about his family, does all of this work to warm things up?
>> i think i have to say what needs to be said. is that israel and the united states are so close, such good intimate friends, that whenever you have a disagreement, it becomes front-page news, it really is blown out of proportion. i think the president said last week in washington, he said that he and prime minister netenyahu have a good, i think he said a terrific business relationship. and as far as the israeli people are concerned, you've seen, i've seen, how the israeli people have welcomed the president, have shown respect, have shown warmth and have shown appreciation as my prime minister said, we have no better friend than the united states of america . we know that. and under president obama , cooperation between israel and the united states , military cooperation, defense cooperation, intelligence cooperation, all that has reached an unprecedented level. and we're grateful. and we really see the president and of course the united states as our closest and most dearest friend in the world.
>> mark regev , thank you so much, good to see you again. thanks for getting through the traffic. i don't know how you managed to do it traffic, the motorcades in the old city of jerusalem , a nightmare.