More from an exclusive preview of Katie Couric's interview with Barack Obama:
Couric: If they reject negotiating-- if they reject negotiations, how likely do you think a preemptive military strike by Israel against Iran may be?
Obama: I-- I will not hypothesize on that. I think-- Israel has a right to defend itself. But I will not speculate on-- the-- the difficult judgment that they would have to make-- in a whole host of possible scenarios.
Couric: This is not a speculative question then. Was it appropriate, in your view, for Israel to take out that suspected Syrian nuclear site last year?
Obama: Yes. I think that there was sufficient evidence that they were developing-- a site using a nuclear-- or using a-- a blueprint that was similar to the North Korean model. There was some concern as to what the rationale for that site would be. And, again, ultimately, I think these are decisions that the Israelis have to make. But-- you know, the Israelis live in a very tough neighborhood where-- a lot of folks-- publicly-- proclaim Israel as an enemy and then act on those proclamations. And-- I think that-- you know, it-- it's important for-- for me not to-- you know, engage in speculation on what steps they need to take. What I can do is to provide leadership-- so that the United States government hopefully doesn't get us into a position where-- those decisions are so difficult. That's why applying tough diplomacy, direct diplomacy, and tough sanctions-- where necessary is so important.
And, as Obama lands in Tel Aviv, he admits to Couric that his AIPAC pronouncement about an
"undivided" Jerusalem was "poorly phrased" but insists that he did not change his policy.
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