Secretary of State nominee: Israel is our most important ally

Rex Tillerson blasts the Obama administration's attitude towards Israel, says PA must demonstrate it is serious about peace talks.

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Elad Benari,

Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson
Reuters

Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, on Wednesday stressed the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and condemned the outgoing Obama administration’s decision not to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which criticized Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Speaking at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson said the resolution was “not helpful” and “undermines” the conditions for peace talks to continue, reported The Washington Post.

The former ExxonMobil chief also described Secretary of State John Kerry’s subsequent speech criticizing Israel as “quite troubling.”

He added that the Palestinian Authority must show that it is serious about negotiating with Israel before any progress can be made.

“Until there is a serious demonstration on their part, it’s going to be very difficult to create conditions at the table for parties to have any productive conversation about settlements,” said Tillerson, according to The Washington Post.

He stressed the importance of the United States recommitting to its alliance with Israel, which he said “is, was and always has been our most important ally” in the Middle East.

Tillerson also stressed that a two-state solution as an outcome to the conflict would be "the dream that everyone is in pursuit of”, but added, “Whether it could ever be a reality remains to be seen.”