Israel’s Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren said today that the relations between the US and Israel were protecting the lives of American soldiers serving abroad, as Israel supplies Washington with intelligence and equipment necessary for their wellbeing.
Oren was responding to a statement to Congress made by the commander of the US Central Command, General David Patraeus, who spoke about the Arab nations’ response to the close ties between the two countries.
Speaking in an interview with CNN, Oren said that if Israel did not exist, extremists in the region would join Al-Qaeda in its anti-American sentiment. “The US is much safer thanks to Israeli-American cooperation,” he said.
The ambassador said Israel supplies the US with intelligence and equipment its troops use to fight terrorists.
He defined the countries’ relationship as “excellent”. Oren also accused the Palestinians of being unwilling to enter into negotiations and added that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did something no prime minister had done before him by freezing construction in all settlements for ten months.
Oren said Israel was waiting for the Palestinians to respond to this gesture, and that Israel was committed to discussing with them the core issues at stake.
The ambassador claimed that peace initiatives were more likely to succeed while Arab nations continued to view Iran as the central threat in the region, rather than Israel.
Regarding the dispute over Jewish construction in east Jerusalem, Oren said that Israel had always seen the city as its capital, and that “any Jew or Arab has the right to build legally in Jerusalem, as in any other city in the country.”
He added that Netanyahu was not always aware of every home approved for construction in the city. “He’s not the mayor, he has a country to run,” Oren said.