Panetta urges Obama to mend fences with Netanyahu
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Ex-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday urged his former boss President Obama to repair his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"I know there have been personality differences. There's been a lot of concerns about the behavior of the prime minister. I understand all that," Panetta said on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."

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"But, frankly, the relationship with Israel is extremely important, both from an intelligence point of view, military point of view, a diplomatic point of view. It's very important to maintain that strong relationship, particularly when we're dealing with all of these threats in that region," Panetta said. 

The former Obama administration official generated a slew of headlines during his book tour last fall from his stinging criticism of his former boss over foreign policy, prompting pushback from some White House allies.
Obama maintained earlier this week that differences between him and Netanyahu are policy-oriented, not personal, describing their relationship as "businesslike."
 
The White House has indicated it won't brush aside Netanyahu's pre-election remarks suggesting he wouldn't allow a Palestinian state to exist during his term, despite the Israeli leader walking back his remarks.
 
"An occupation that has lasted more than 50 years must end," White House chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughTrailer shows first look at Annette Bening as Dianne Feinstein 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question MORE said in a speech early this week, referring to Israeli construction settlements in the West Bank. 
 
"I would urge the president, I would urge the prime minister, to do everything possible to try to repair that relationship. It is too important to our security interests in that part of the world," Panetta said on MSNBC. 
 
Panetta also cast some doubt over U.S.-led negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, a source of much friction between Obama and Netanyahu.
 
"One thing I've learned both at the CIA and as secretary of Defense is that the Iranians can't be trusted," Panetta said.
 
"Do we have the ability, the transparency, the accessibility to make sure that Iran cannot use whatever nuclear facilities they're going to maintain, cannot use those in order to develop enriched fuel? That ultimately is going to be the real test," he said.