The White House says it has grave concerns about reports that Syria has provided the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah with missiles capable of hitting Israel.

 

 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told Major Garrett in the daily briefing that the Obama administration has relayed those concerns at the highest level. 

"You heard the president speak yesterday about Middle East peace," Gibbs said.  "His desire is to have this nation remain focused on that goal. The potential destabilizing effect -- the alarming effect that this has had -- we've expressed our grave concern about it."

Gibbs reaffirmed that the United States is committed to Israel and its security, echoing weeks of rhetoric aimed at cooling tensions between the two countries.  "We have an unbreakable bond with the Israeli people," Gibbs told reporters, "We obviously are increasingly concerned about the sophisticated weaponry that is allegedly being transferred." 

 

U.S.-Israeli relations were called into question last month after Vice President Biden's peace mission to the region was pierced by an unexpected announcement that Israel would expand its settlements in East Jerusalem.

President Obama opposes the construction of settlements because he believes it's detrimental to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli government considers Jerusalem its capital, and has demanded that it be left out of the peace process negotiations.

Israel, however, has drawn a line in the sand.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- who came to the White House for talks with President Obama in late March -- has vowed to continue settlement construction, insisting that it doesn't preclude a two-state solution.