Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in New York.
At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu referred to his meeting earlier this week with President Barack Obama, which he described as “excellent”.
“I look forward to continuing our conversation, which I have to divulge we do every other day by phone, sometimes every day. But it’s always important and productive to talk directly about how we can advance peace and stability with our neighbors in the region, and that’s something I look forward to doing with you now. So welcome,” he added.
Kerry, for his part, echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments and said that the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama had been “very constructive”
“I think the size and structure of the memorandum of understanding which provides for a long-term commitment of security between the United States and Israel is a remarkable statement about the relationship between our countries,” continued Kerry.
“I don’t think any secretary of state in history has talked with the prime minister of Israel as many times, as frequently, or visited as frequently as I have. And while our term is coming to an end, my affection for Israel, my commitment to Israel, will last well beyond my tenure as Secretary of State, and I look forward to continuing to have this conversation,” he stressed.
Kerry then added, “There are things we believe we could achieve in the next months, and there are serious concerns that we all have about the security of the region, the need for stability, the need to protect the two-state solution.
“And our hope is obviously that we can find a way to utilize the friendship of our countries to advance, what we believe is not only in the highest priority for Israel to provide for its long-term security, but also to create a new relationship within the region that can be powerful in reinforcing that long-term security interest.
“So we have a lot to talk about, a lot to build on, I might add too, because we are friends and we have a common interest. So I’m happy to be here. Thank you,” concluded the Secretary of State.
The meeting comes hours after the Middle East Quartet – of which Kerry is a member – blasted Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and said they constituted an obstacle to peace.
The Quartet is made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
"The Quartet emphasized its strong opposition to ongoing settlement activity, which is an obstacle to peace, and expressed its grave concern that the acceleration of settlement construction and expansion ... (is) steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution," the group said in a statement after meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The Quartet released a report in July in which it called on Israel to halt its construction in Judea and Samaria, but also called on the PA to stop inciting to violence and terrorism.
Israel rejects as “nonsense” the argument that the communities in Judea and Samaria are the obstacle to peace.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)