Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan traveled to Israel and the West Bank January 18-20. He was joined by Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk.
In Jerusalem, Mr. Sullivan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, and members of the senior national security team including Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, National Security Advisor (NSA) Tzachi Hanegbi, Mossad Director David Barnea, and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Major General Herzi Halevi.
During his engagements with the Prime Minister and senior Israeli officials, Mr. Sullivan restated the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and to countering the continued threats posed by Iran to Israel, the United States, and the wider region. Mr. Sullivan stressed the U.S. commitment to ensure Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon. They also discussed Ukraine, as well as the burgeoning defense partnership between Russia and Iran and its implications for security in the Middle East region.
In all of his engagements, Mr. Sullivan underscored President Biden’s commitment to promoting a more integrated, prosperous, and secure Middle East region with benefits for all of its people, as exemplified by the recent Negev Forum Working Groups in Abu Dhabi. To advance these aims, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Hanegbi held a virtual quadrilateral meeting with their counterparts Bahraini NSA H.E. Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and UAE NSA H.E. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan to further coordination in the fields of clean energy, emerging technology, regional security, and commercial relations.
In all of his meetings, Mr. Sullivan recalled that the United States’ longstanding partnership with Israel, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is built on mutual interests and democratic values. Mr. Sullivan stressed that the Administration will continue to support the two-state solution, and will discourage policies that endanger its viability. Mr. Sullivan underscored the urgency of avoiding unilateral steps by any party that could inflame tensions on the ground, with special attention to maintaining the historic status quo with respect to the holy places in Jerusalem.
In Ramallah, Mr. Sullivan met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reaffirm the U.S. administration’s interest in strengthening engagement with the Palestinian Authority and deepening ties with the Palestinian people. They discussed U.S. support for peace, preserving the path towards negotiations for two states, and advancing equal measures of security, prosperity, and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians. Mr. Sullivan reviewed U.S. commitments to the Palestinian people, including support for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network and establishment of 4G infrastructure in the West Bank. He also discussed the need for Palestinian leaders to help de-escalate tensions in the West Bank and to strengthen Palestinian institutions. Finally, they exchanged views on measures to build trust, enhance security, and foster conditions for a political horizon.