U.S. Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, of the Republican Party, who was named by President Barack Obama Monday, stated that he will grant Israel his utmost support under all circumstances, and slammed several Republican officials who criticized what they called âhis attitudes regarding the Middle East, especially Israel and the conflict with the Palestiniansâ. Hagel told a local paper in Nebraska that the criticism against him came after he refused to vote for certain resolutions that were strongly pushed by the Israeli lobby, and said that he did not vote for these resolutions because he believes they would backfire.
Hagel said that such criticisms do not help the interests of the United States in the Middle East, and the âU.S. efforts to ensure the resumption of peace talks.
âIt is in Israelâs best interest that we help it and the Palestinians to find a way to live side by side in peaceâ, he added.
It is worth mentioning that several Congress members said that Hagel previously refused to support economic sanctions on Iran, but he said that he refused U. S. -led sanctions on Tehran but strongly supports sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
Furthermore, President Obama adopted a new proposal to impose financial sanctions on any country that buys oil from Iran.
Israeli daily, Maariv, reported Monday that the Obama administration assured the Israel Lobby in the U.S. that Hagel is committed to supporting Israel and ensuring its security, and added that Hagel will implement the policies of Obama that grant full support to Israel.
The AbC News Agency reported that criticisms against Hagel started following âcontroversial statementsâ on U.S. foreign policy, including a statement he made in 2008 in which he described American supporters of Israel as âthe Jewish Lobbyâ.
The ABC added that Hagel also made statements that âencouraged talks between the United States, Israel the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) which is labeled by the U.S. State Department as âa terrorist groupâ. He also opposed the U.S-led war on Iraq in 2003.