'Clocks ticking.' Ross
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration's "ongoing strategic discussions with the Israelis have taken on a character, a range of issues, intensity, and a frequency that is simply unprecedented," Dennis Ross told J Street's annual conference on Monday.
The White House adviser on Middle East peace issues said that one of the Obama Administration's principles was “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”
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Ross, a former US special envoy to the Middle East during the Clinton Administration, said that despite the US' financial woes it is continuing to support Israel's security needs, including the funding of the "Iron Dome" missile defense system.
Addressing the stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Ross said more time is needed to bridge gaps before direct talks can resume, adding that in the coming months the Americans will simultaneously discuss the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with both sides.
The senior American official said the status quo was “unsustainable,” but also rejected unilateral moves, including the current Palestinian effort to gain international recognition for statehood.
“Unilateral moves aren't going to produce agreements unless unilateral moves are basically negotiated behind the scenes,” he said. “For peace to succeed, the parties have to own it and defend it. They're not going to defend it unless they own it.
"There are a number of clocks ticking. There is a demographic clock that all of you are aware of; there are also biological clocks of young leaders emerging – you want them to believe a solution is a possibility, not an impossibility," Ross said.
The US official continued to say that the revolution in Egypt "has created concern for many in the region; Egypt has been a pillar for Israel’s pursuit of peace. The last thing we want to see is extremists benefit from the situation.
"It’s the interest of Egypt that the peace (with Israel) becomes warmer, not colder," he said,
Obama's aide also said the US "we will keep an eye on Iran and the pressure on. While the door will always remain open for diplomacy, but we remain determined to prevent Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons and we won’t be deflected from this goal."
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