National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan traveled to Israel and the West Bank December 21-22, and was joined in his meetings by U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, Deputy Assistant to the President and Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Brett McGurk, and the State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert. In Jerusalem, Mr. Sullivan met with President Herzog, Prime Minister Bennett, Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Lapid, Defense Minister Gantz, and National Security Advisor Hulata to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the two countries and discuss the major regional and bilateral policy issues on their shared agenda. Mr. Sullivan and Dr. Hulata also led the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group to continue the intensive consultations between the two sides on the challenges and opportunities in the region.
In his meetings with senior Israeli officials, Mr. Sullivan reaffirmed that the longstanding partnership between the United States and Israel is built on shared interests and values and highlighted the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. He re-affirmed President Biden’s commitment to ensuring Israel has the resources necessary for its defense, including for the Iron Dome. The U.S. and Israeli delegations held detailed consultations on Iran, with Mr. Sullivan underscoring the U.S. administration’s determination to confront all aspects of the threat Iran poses to regional and international peace and security. He also reaffirmed the firm commitment of the United States to ensuring Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Sullivan commended the Israeli government’s achievements in strengthening relations with partners in the region and highlighted U.S. support for the Abraham Accords. The U.S. and Israeli delegations discussed efforts to deepen and expand peaceful relations between Israel and countries in the Arab and Muslim world and agreed to cooperate closely on this common goal. The two sides also exchanged perspectives on the current situation in the West Bank and Gaza and discussed steps to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and improve the lives of the Palestinians. Mr. Sullivan stressed the need to avoid steps that can inflame tensions on the ground and encouraged efforts to promote calm and advance towards the goal of a two-state solution.
In Ramallah, Mr. Sullivan met with Palestinian Authority President Abbas to highlight the U.S. administration’s interest in strengthening engagement with the Palestinian Authority and deepening ties with the Palestinian people. They discussed the steps the U.S. administration has taken this year to benefit the Palestinians, including the resumption of significant levels of economic and development assistance and contributions to UNRWA. Mr. Sullivan reaffirmed President Biden’s commitment to achieving a two-state solution and discussed the importance of actions to build trust, enhance stability and security, and foster a more hopeful vision for the future.
Mr. Sullivan’s trip to Israel and the West Bank represents the culmination of a year of intensive U.S. engagements with partners across the region and demonstrates the U.S. administration’s commitment to building on this strong foundation in the year ahead to advance U.S. enduring interests in the Middle East.