Ross: Commitment to Israeli security defined by actions

Special assistant to Obama tells AIPAC "only way for Israel to gain long-term security it deserves is through genuine peace with neighbors"; lauds security, economic progress made in West Bank under Fayyad.

Dennis Ross 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
Dennis Ross 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
Special assistant to US President Barack Obama Dennis Ross said that the United States' "commitment to Israel’s security is defined not by talk. It is defined by the kinds of actions and deeds that help make both of our countries safer and stronger in the face of common threats," at an AIPAC summit in Florida on Monday. "This year, President Obama decided to supplement our annual $3 billion in military assistance to Israel with a $205 million request" to support the Iron Dome rocket defense system, Ross said.
Seeking to reassure the AIPAC crowd of the US's commitment to Israel, he noted the administration's "work to defeat efforts in international organizations to single out or delegitimize Israel." Ross continued, "We will continue to stand up for Israel in these organizations, but there should be no mistake that our efforts are strengthened when Israel is actively participating in peace negotiations."
RELATED:Fayyad slams IDF's killing of two Hamas terrorists Clinton: Talks the only way to move forward toward peace
Speaking about the "need for peace," Ross said that while the US will continue to support Israel's security needs and fight delegitimization efforts against it, "the only true way for Israel to gain the long-term security it deserves is through a genuine peace with its neighbors." He explained that real progress toward peace can significantly affect the struggle between radicals and pragmatists in the Mideast, fingering Iran and its allies as the radicals that peace would weaken.
Referring to what he called "remarkable progress" in the West Bank, Ross said that security gains made in the past two years have created a new situation where Palestinian security forces "are committed to stopping the kind of violence that only feeds the conflict." However, he cautioned that the "positive developments will be difficult to sustain if the prospects for peace look less and less real."
Ross also spoke of political changes he deemed necessary for a future Palestinian state. He lauded the Palestinian Authority's efforts in building "transparent and effective institutions." Addressing the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Ross noted that Fayyad has often said "that he models his efforts in part after [form Israeli Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s record of building the institutions of Israel so that the state could function once it was established." He praised Fayyad and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as representing "unique Palestinian leaders committed to non-violence, negotiations, and state-building," whose interest in peace represents a strategic opportunity that should not be lost.
The US president's special assistant admitted that there are difficult and serious issues to be resolved, mentioning that he is "under no illusions about how hard that will be,' but concluded that the strategic important of peace for both parties, as well as the US, is of great importance that should not be underestimated.
Ross also outlined the steps the Obama administration has taken to against Iran, reiterating the White House's resolve by quoting the US president saying, "We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."