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February 28, 2011

Dennis Ross on the State of U.S.-Israel Relations February 28, 2011

Listed in: Israel, Fact Sheets

Dennis Ross, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, addressed J Street’s national conference in Washington, DC. Specifically, Ross emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to Israel’s security and the recent actions taken to deliver on that commitment, including the measures taken to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Click here to read his full remarks.

Click here to download this sheet as a pdf.

Ross clearly outlined the Obama Administration’s main priorities for the Middle East:

”[O]ur agenda is clear: help Egypt to conduct a successful, orderly, and credible transition; encourage others in the region to undertake meaningful reform now before they too face destabilizing unrest; continue the push for peace between Israelis, Palestinians, and their Arab neighbors; and build the pressure on Iran. This is a complex and demanding agenda, but it has the complete attention of the President and his full national security team.”

Regarding bilateral cooperation between the U.S. and Israel amid the changes unfolding in the Middle East, Ross said:

“During this period we have also stayed in close touch with the Israelis. We understand well that while change in Egypt is a source of concern for many in the region, for Israel, it has profound meaning.”

“In this context and in this environment, it is also important to reaffirm a fundamental principle of the Obama administration’s policy toward the region: our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Ross listed some of the recent actions taken to affirm the U.S.-Israel alliance:

  • “Despite all the budgetary challenges, we have protected support for Israel and maintained full funding of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system that will significantly enhance Israel’s defenses against short-range rockets and mortars.”
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen recently traveled to Israel to attend the farewell ceremony for outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi, symbolizing the close relations of the very top echelons of our militaries.”
  • Our ongoing strategic discussions with the Israelis have taken on a character, a range of issues, intensity, and a frequency that is simply unprecedented. This is important not just because these steps demonstrate our commitment to our long-standing ally, but because a strong and confident Israel is one that can take the risks necessary for peace-particularly during a time of great transition in the region.”


Ross also summarized the recent measures taken by the Obama Administration to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran:

”[W]e are keeping our eye on the ball with Iran. We will keep the pressure on and we will increase it with our partners as Iran continues to face serious hardships as a result of international sanctions. Over the past two weeks, the United States has designated an additional Iranian bank for supporting prohibited proliferation activities and imposed sanctions on two Iranian officials for human rights abuses. While the door will always remain open for diplomacy, Iran must know that delay tactics and obfuscations will only lead to more pressure. Iran’s continued unwillingness to engage seriously with the P5+1 and its continued failure to respond fully to inquiries by the IAEA will only add to that pressure. Let me be very clear about one thing: we are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and we will not be deflected from that goal.”