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Tillerson: “Israel is our most important ally in the region”

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 23:04
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DEBKAfile was founded by a team of journalists in June 2000 as an independent Internet Web site, providing an intelligence and security news service. January 12, 2017, 7:50 AM (IDT)

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, pledged on Wednesday to support Israel if his nomination is confirmed by the Senate. Testifying at the Senate hearing Wednesday, he said in answer to a question from Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.): “Israel is, has always been, and remains our most important ally in the region. They’re important to our national security.”

The designated Secretary of State went on to make this clear: “I think in the Trump administration, the president-elect has already made it clear, and if I’m confirmed I agree entirely with support [for Israel],” Tillerson said. “We have to recommit – this is in the statements I keep making about renewing and committing – that we are going to meet our obligations to Israel as our most important strategic partner in the region.”

Tillerson also addressed the Obama administration’s decision to let a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements go through the UN Security Council: He called it “unhelpful” and argued it will not help bring Israelis and Palestinians together to directly negotiate a settlement for a two-state solution. The Kerry speech on the conflict, he called “troubling” in that it undermines the government of Israel.

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