— by Jake Sharman
Newly-appointed American Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, implied Tuesday evening that the Obama Administration is already preparing for the ramifications following the UN General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood, expected later this month.
“Even as we try to dissuade the Palestinians from going to the United Nations, we are working with our Quartet partners and the parties to try to preserve a path back to negotiations,” Ambassador Shapiro said at a dinner held in his honor at the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) in Jerusalem.
Tuesday marked Ambassador Shapiro’s first public appearance at an Israeli think tank since taking office in early August. Throughout his speech, he described in detail his deep and impassioned connection to Israel, which began when he was a child. During Ambassador Shapiro’s first visit to Israel, the Yom Kippur war broke out, an emotional experience he still carries.
Analysis after the jump.
Full text at JPPI website.
Ambassador Shapiro referred to the peace process and to the impending Palestinian bid at the UN for statehood.
“We need to deal with the current challenge of a possible Palestinian appeal to the United Nations, which the United States will oppose,” said Ambassador Shapiro, who cited what President Obama indicated in his speech on May 19: that the issues regarding territories and security can be “the base for productive discussions.” Shapiro was referring to the speech in which Obama also mentioned “67 borders,” leading to a public dispute between with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ambassador Shapiro stressed more than once that the US and President Obama are committed to a strong Jewish and democratic State of Israel.
In his opening remarks, Avinoam Bar-Yosef, President of the JPPI, emphasized how highly the Israelis regard and appreciate the special relationship with the United States and its continuing as the global leader in economics, science, technology, and culture.
Bar-Yosef noted that in the JPPI annual assessment, which was presented to the Israeli government recently, it was recommended to avoid using Israel and the Jewish community as a partisan wedge issue in the US. Bar-Yosef also recommended that Israel and the Jewish people put forth its strongest efforts to consider the diplomatic and economic needs of the United States as long as it does not impact Israel’s security.
Bar-Yosef added that the JPPI went one step further in the annual assessment by recommending a ‘Buy America’ campaign, encouraging Israelis and the Israeli government to buy American-made products, expressing that creating jobs in New York and Detroit also affects Tel Aviv and Dimona. “There is no reason why Israelis can’t prefer American-made vehicles, and why the fleets of the State of Israel and the IDF cannot be replaced by such in order to at least show symbolic support for the recovery of the American economy”, he said.