Washington does not agree that a settlement building freeze should be a
precondition to the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, United
States Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said Tuesday morning in an
interview with Army Radio.
He said that "the US has had the same
policy for the past 40 years - against building settlements in the West
Bank." However, he stressed that the US believes that direct talks
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, without preconditions, are the only way to resolve
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said during the interview that US President Barak Obama has
been an extraordinarily good friend to Israel and that ties between the
two countries were close.
Talking about the danger posed by the
Iranian nuclear threat, the ambassador said, "we are on the same page"
and "working very closely together." Referring to the US president's speech
at the UN General Assembly last week, he said, "Obama spoke in very moving terms
about our understanding of the stress Israel faces and our understanding
of Israel's security concerns."
Questioned about the US stance toward Turkey in light
of recent events, Shapiro said, "we certainly don't agree with everything
Erdogan says, but Turkey is an important ally, a NATO ally, just as
Israel is an important ally. We would like to see Israel-Turkey
relations return to what they once were, and we will help to return
The ambassador closed the interview with a Jewish New Year greeting to everyone in Israel.