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Netanyahu concludes US visit with Pence breakfast

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A breakfast with the Vice President and meeting with congressional leaders marked the end of the Israeli Prime Minister’s visit to the US.

Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded his visit to Washington yesterday, following his meeting on Wednesday with President Donald Trump.

At the breakfast meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, the two leaders reaffirmed the special relationship between the United States and Israel and underscored the “unbreakable bond” between the two countries.

Pence reiterated the United States’ “unwavering commitment” to Israel’s security and pledged to work with Netanyahu to address shared challenges in the Middle East, including threats posed by Iran and its proxies, as well as ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist groups.

The two leaders discussed ways for the United States and Israel to work more closely together on issues such as cyber security, intelligence cooperation, and energy.

They also agreed to work together against hostile actions aimed at Israel at the United Nations and other international forums, as well as boycotts that target Israel.

Pence and Netanyahu agreed that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties. Pence added that the United States will work closely with Israel and the Palestinians to make progress towards that goal.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also gave an interview on US channel MSNBC, where he explained that Israeli security control west of the Jordan River was an essential condition for making peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He repeated his comments made at the press conference on Wednesday, that labels were not important, but substance was.

Reflecting on his meeting with the President, Netanyahu said: “I’m not going to start rating presidents. I will tell you though that I had a very, very warm meeting with President Trump. There was a great sense of kinship and friendship and I think that this is something the people of America feel toward the people of Israel. And, I assure you, the people of Israel feel deeply about the people of America.”

In a separate development, President Trump’s candidate for Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman began his confirmation hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Friedman clarified his position on the matter of two states. He said that if the Israelis and Palestinians were able to reach an agreement “‎through direct negotiations along parameters agreeable to them … I would be delighted to see peace come to this region where people have suffered on both sides for so long.”

He added: “I would be delighted if the two state solution could be achieved.”

Friedman distanced himself from problematic statements made in the past and spoke out against an “apartheid” ‎scenario in which Israel controls the Palestinians: “I don’‎t think that anyone would ever support a state where different classes of citizens have different rights”.