Dan Shapiro
Dan ShapiroFlash 90

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro responded for the first time Thursday to questions related to his role as ambassador.

In response to Arutz Sheva's question about why the US government reacts so strongly to Jews living in Judea and Samaria, especially compared to other issues, Shapiro said "US policy regarding the settlements has not changed for many years. We oppose settlement construction because it harms the chances of having two states for two peoples."

When asked about the concern Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and others have that the US would turn its back on Israel at the UN Security Council after the November presidential election and either withhold its veto from or support a resolution against Israel, Shapiro said: "We oppose one-sided resolutions against Israel, and we vetoed a resolution about the settlements in 2011. But it is impossible to predict how we would react to resolutions that have not yet been finalized."

When asked what the Obama administration plans to do before Obama leaves office in January, Shapiro said: "I can't predict any specific decisions that haven't been taken yet. But any decision would be motivated by our goal of keeping 'two states for two peoples alive' and viable for the future."

One user asked Shapiro what could be done to improve the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, to which Shapiro replied "We will always support initiatives that allow Israelis and Palestinians to get to know each other better."

Another question that arose was the initiatives to punish the head of B'Tselem for testifying against Israel at a Security Council meeting to condemn Jewish housing in Judea and Samaria. Said Shapiro: "We said after the event that we believe that freedom of speech is the basis of any democracy. We value organizations which work to uncover issues which concern us like the settlements. It is important that all views and all voices are heard on this issue."

When asked about the recent UNESCO votes to deny the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem. Shapiro wrote "We strongly opposed these one-sided, politicized resolutions, which deny facts about Jerusalem."