Panetta warns Israel getting more isolated

By LOLITA C. BALDOR | October 2, 2011 | 7:35 PM EDT

ON BOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is warning that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East, and says Israeli leaders must restart negotiations with the Palestinians and work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey.

Panetta, who was flying to Israel Sunday night, says it is "not a good situation" for Israel during a time of upheaval in the Arab world.

The Pentagon chief says Israel's "military edge" is not enough, adding that real security also requires "a strong diplomatic effort."

Panetta is scheduled to meet with top Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week, and then travel to a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. His visit comes as Mideast negotiators push for a peace deal by the end of next year.