Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday met with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in Jerusalem.
At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister told Rubio, "I appreciate your support. I appreciate the tremendous support of the American people, bipartisan support for our security and our quest for peace. It's a daunting task, both security and the quest for peace, but we know we have your support and we appreciate it. I look forward to talking with you about our challenges."
Sen. Rubio replied, "Well, you live in a challenging neighborhood but the Israeli-American relationship is one of the most important ones we have, and certainly our commitment to that partnership is bipartisan and it should remain that way. And that's why I'm pleased the President is coming here in March."
Rubio also held a working meeting with President Shimon Peres. According to a statement from the President’s Residence, the two discussed changes in the Middle East, Israel's relations with its neighbors, the importance of renewing peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, the Iranian nuclear threat, and further strengthening the strategic relations between Israel and the U.S.
President Peres welcomed Senator Rubio and said, “We are a democratic island in an uneasy and uncertain ocean, which today is stormy. We have to defend our island and do whatever we can to calm the ocean. We are united around the United States, if you look for one subject that unites the people it's the pro-American sentiment, for sincere reasons.”
Addressing the issue of restarting negotiations with, Peres said, “If you ask me if peace is possible, there answer is yes. If you ask me if it will be easy, the answer is no. But we can and we must restart the negotiations."
On the issue of Iran's nuclear ambition President Peres said, “We must continue to intensify the sanctions against Iran's nuclear program and make clear that all options remain on the table. We must also deal with the abuses of human rights of the Iranian regime against its own citizens and the citizens of the region.”
Senator Rubio thanked President Peres and said, “There is no more important relationship for the United States, perhaps in the world but certainly in the region, than Israel. It's one that has bipartisan support and I'm proud to say that Republicans and Democrats are united on that. We remain deeply committed, above all else, to Israel's security. Like every nation, like every sovereign people, the people of Israel have the right to be safe. The ties between the United States and Israel are unbreakable. Israel represents everything the United States stands for, a vibrant democracy.”
Senator Rubio added on the issue of Iran that the United States cannot accept a nuclear Iran.
Rubio’s trip to the Middle East began on Saturday, a visit that could do much to bolster the possible 2016 presidential candidate's foreign policy credentials.
In addition to his visit and meetings in Israel, Rubio also visited Jordan and met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Jordan's King Abdullah II.