US envoy says Obama has proved to be Israel's best friend

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Tel Aviv (Israel), Nov.5 (ANI): US President Barack Obama is Israel's "closest friend," contrary to what many Israelis seem to believe in recent polls, US Ambassador James Cunningham told a Tel Aviv audience on Wednesday.

"According to the polls, there is doubt [about Obama's friendship]. Now it's true that we have some differences to resolve, as even the closest of friends among nations always have. [But] in word and deed, the president stands by Israel as its closest friend and will continue to do so," the Jerusalem Post quoted Ambassador Cunningham, as insisting.

He offered examples of this friendship, foremost among them the American administration's opposition to the Goldstone Report.

"From the inception of the Goldstone Commission we objected to its flawed mandate," Cunningham told the Israeli audience at a lecture under the auspices of Tel Aviv University.

"We have stated our concerns about the Goldstone Report - after it was issued - clearly and repeatedly, including the overly-broad scope of its recommendations, its failure to address the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and its sweeping conclusions of law," he added. Cunningham noted that the US "led the opposition to [the report's] endorsement by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and will continue to reject efforts to use the report to undercut Israel's right to self defense.

America's bond with Israel had been clearly demonstrated by its "opposition to delegitimizing [of] Israel internationally" and its efforts to ensure "Israel is treated fairly in the United Nations," he said.

Cunningham also used the speech to urge Israel and the Palestinians "to relaunch negotiations without preconditions on the core issues of the conflict: security for both Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees and Jerusalem." (ANI)

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