david axelrod 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
WASHINGTON – Even though Israel has yet to respond to US demands for gestures to get the peace process moving, top White House adviser David Axelrod told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that he was optimistic about the prospects for progress.
“We have an ongoing dialogue with Israel and I’m confident that we will move forward in a productive way,” he said when asked by the Post about the lack of Israeli measures sought by the US, including those outlined during an Oval Office meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in March.
Axelrod, one of Obama’s closest confidants, called the relationship strong and enduring despite occasional differences over policy.
“We have unbreakable bonds and we have a strategic alliance that’s essential to both Israel and the United States,” he said. “And that is an impetus for us to work through whatever disagreements that we have.”
He also said that the administration was “hopeful” about the proximity talk process taking off and leading to progress.
Indirect talks have been deadlocked since tensions erupted between the US and Israel when the Interior Ministry approved construction plans in Ramat Shlomo during the visit of Vice President Joe Biden last month.
The Palestinians then refused to begin nascent proximity talks, while the US has demanded that Jerusalem take measures to meet Palestinian demands and get the process moving.
Axelrod spoke briefly to the Post
at Wednesday’s Independence Day reception held by the Israeli Embassy.
During the event he told the audience, “Let’s not confuse the occasional dispute over policy with the fundamental partnership that has guided our two nations for so long and will continue to guide our two nations.”
He also spoke about the US commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge, to fighting delegitimization of the Jewish state and to ensuring that Iran not get nuclear weapons, earning him applause.
Axelrod, the son of Jewish immigrants to America, began his remarks by emphasizing his own family’s emotional connection with Israel as a place of safety for Jews escaping oppression and noted that he’d visited the country six times.
He said he was pleased to be at Wednesday’s event now representing a president “who understands this history and the deep historic bonds between our two countries.”
He stressed, “These are unbreakable bonds.”
Ambassador to the US Michael Oren also spoke of the deep ties between
the US and Israel and the joint desire for a two-state solution,
mentioned by Axelrod as well.
“We share the vision of a secure
and recognized Jewish state of Israel living side by side with a stable
and non-violent Palestinian state, and the government of Israel is
deeply committed to working with President Obama to realize that
vision,” Oren said.
“Together with the United States, Israel
will strive to create a Middle East – indeed, a world – free of the
threats of terrorism and its extremist supporters, a world in which
Israelis can live and interact peacefully with all peoples.”