AFP: The US government agrees that Iran's nuclear ambitions pose an "existential threat" to Israel but that only reinforces the need for Middle East peace, a top official said Sunday.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US government agrees that Iran's nuclear ambitions pose an "existential threat" to Israel but that only reinforces the need for Middle East peace, a top official said Sunday.
General James Jones, President Barack Obama's national security advisor, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would hear the US message on the need for a "two-state" solution first-hand when he comes here soon.
"We understand Israel's preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat. We agree with that," he said on ABC television.
"And by the same token, there are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution," he said.
"This is a very strategic issue. It's extremely important. And we're looking forward to having a good, constructive dialogue with our Israeli friends when they visit Washington in the next seven or eight days."
Netanyahu, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will meet Obama at the White House in the coming weeks as the new US administration steps up its pressure for a regional peace deal.
Netanyahu has so far refused to publicly endorse the creation of a Palestinian state, and has insisted on focusing efforts on strengthening the West Bank economy before engaging in talks on a final status agreement.
As Obama met Israeli President Shimon Peres last Tuesday, US Vice President Joe Biden forcefully laid out what Washington expects from its partners in the search for an elusive peace deal.
"Israel's security is non-negotiable," he said, but demanded the Jewish state halt settlement building, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement.
Arab states must meanwhile make "meaningful gestures" to end their isolation of Israel, Biden said.