Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Foreign Affairs Minister Gabi Ashkenazi at the ministry in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke this weekend with US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, with the two discussing Israeli relations with the Palestinian Authority as well as other regional issues.

Secretary of State spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement from Washington that the two “discussed regional security challenges, humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and the normalization of relations with Arab and Muslim majority countries.

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“The Secretary emphasized the Administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy,” Price said on Blinken’s behalf.

“The Secretary reiterated the United States’ strong commitment to Israel and its security and looks forward to strengthening all aspects of the US-Israel partnership,” he added.

According to Ashkenazi, the conversation was more wide-ranging; among the topics also discussed were the challenges facing Israel from Iran, and the Palestinian Authority’s actions in pressing for the probe of Israel by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

“Secretary Blinken informed me of the United States’ intention to remove sanctions against the ICC,” Ashkenazi said in a series of English-language tweets.

“The Secretary of State clarified that the United States does not agree with the Court’s activities with regards to the Palestinian matter nor with the Court’s attempt to exercise its authority against non-member countries and noted that the United States will continue to uphold its commitment to Israel.

“I emphasized Israel’s firm position against the Court’s jurisdiction to him, and Israel’s absolute commitment to protecting its citizens and soldiers,” Ashkenazi continued.

“I clarified that the PA’s active involvement in advancing the case and the investigation will harm any chance of progress whether that be at the political level or the situation on the ground. The Palestinians’ activity has a destructive impact on relations with Israel,” Ashkenazi pointed out.

“We also discussed regional strategic issues and Iran’s perpetual and intensifying violations of its nuclear commitment as well as Iran and its proxies’ regional activities, which escalate and undermine the stability of the Middle East.

“Secretary Blinken updated me on the talks expected to be held next week in Vienna. We also discussed the Palestinian topic, including assistance to the PA,” Ashkenazi said.

“The strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is based on many shared values and interests, and I see great importance in holding an open and honest discussion between us,” he added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.