WASHINGTON (EJP)—‘’For the first time in many years, perhaps in many decades, there is no daylight between the US and Israeli governments when it comes to the challenges facing the two countries, ” said Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, as he addressed the opening session of the annual policy conference of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in Washington.
According to Dermer, “there was a meeting of the minds” when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US President Donald Trump last month at the White House.
“That has made me even more confident that our alliance will be considerably stronger in the years ahead,” he added.
The Israeli ambassador told the almost 18,000 delegates who gathered at the Washington Convention Center that the greatest regional threat facing Israel and the US in the Middle East remains Iran. “We both recognize that the nuclear deal with Iran does not block Iran’s path to the bomb and that Iran’s appetite for aggression and terror has only grown since that deal was signed and sanctions were removed,” Dermer said.
“We also recognize,” Dermer continued, “that the worst outcome that could emerge from the horrific violence in Syria would be to effectively cede parts of Syria to Iran and Hezbollah.”
He noted that the rising tide of radical Islam which has engulfed the Middle East has also enabled a rare moment of opportunity to bring Israel and many in the Arab world closer together.
Also addressing AIPAC, the main pro-Israel group in the US, US Vice President Mike Pence declared: ‘’Under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world will know this — America stands with Israel.”
''I am proud to say loud that America's support for Israel is on a record level,'' he said. ''Our commitment to Israel's defense is non-negotiable, not now and not ever.''
Pence stated: “President Trump and I stand with Israel for the same reason every freedom-loving American stands with Israel — because her cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight.”
“I say with confidence, to all gathered here, President Trump and I stand without apology for Israel and we always will,” the Vice-President added.
He also said that President Trump is giving “serious consideration” to moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and that under President Trump, ‘’the United States will no longer allow the United Nations to be used as a forum for invective against Israel.”
At the same time, Pence noted, the US President is “invested in finding an equitable and just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “committed to forging a lasting peace in the Middle East.”
“And while there will undoubtedly have to be compromises, I can assure you all — President Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel.’’
Among other speakers at the conference, former British Prime Minister and former Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair stressed that a broader regional approach between Israel and its Arab neighbors could create the conditions for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“We’re not going to reach peace in the old way; we need a new way forward,” Blair said, adding that the process of bridging divides between Israel and the Arab world has been “going well, actually.”
There is need for “a different approach to reach peace between Israelis and Palestinians.’’
“Today there are common strategic interests and common objectives that are shared between Israel and the Arab nations,” Blair added.
“What I work on is based on this fundamental belief: that the key to transforming the Middle East and therefore to a more peaceful world is to have a relationship between Israelis and Arabs — which can be open, above the table, acknowledged — in which Israel’s right to exist is accepted and Israel works closely with Arab states,” he said.