Prime Minister Stephen Harper rallied to the side of Israel on Wednesday, saying the best road for peace in the Middle East lies through negotiations between that country and the Palestinians.
Harper made his move in a meeting at the United Nations with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
As journalists were allowed into the room for a brief photo-op, both men smiled warmly and shook hands as they spoke to the cameras.
Harper told journalists he was going to talk with his counterpart about the "terrific" Canada-Israel relationship in areas such as the economy, culture, and "some of the great challenges" now being debated at the UN.
"I would be remiss, without delving too much into what is going on here, to say we all do look forward to the day when the two sides are at the bargaining table and making the tough decisions that are necessary to have two peaceful and secure democratic states."
For his part, Netanyahu was effusive in his praise.
He said that Israel knows that nobody wants Middle East peace more "than our friends in Canada and our friend, the prime minister."
"Israel and Canada have a lot in common — the same heart, the same values. And that I say with great appreciation — for your stance, for your conviction, for your friendship."
"And I share, too, your desire to resume direct negotiations for peace and get on with it. Because the only way we can finish peace negotiations is by beginning peace negotiations. And I know that we'll have your support in our quest for peace and security."