U.S. military official Gen. Dempsey assures Israel on security

His visit came as Israel is concerned over an arms buildup in the Middle East.
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  June 10, 2015 at 11:14 AM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, June 10 (UPI) -- Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey assured the Israeli military of continued U.S. support in arms sales and cybertechnology.

The pledge came as Dempsey received honors from the Israel Defense Force (IDF) at a ceremony Tuesday in Tel Aviv. His visit was part of an Obama administration effort to ease Israel's concerns as a deal between the United States and Iran over nuclear capability is nearing its ratification, and increased U.S. arms sales to Arab countries in the Middle East, traditional adversaries of Israel.

Israel and the IDH have "no greater friend on the face of the earth than the United States military," Dempsey told his Israeli counterpart, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot during the ceremony.

Dempsey met Monday with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who expressed concern the arms buildup in the Middle East could eventually cause problems for Israel, which is seeking additional arms, training and cybertechnology capability from the United States.

"Even if there are not now any hostile designs against us, as we know in the Middle East, intentions are liable to change. The capability will without a doubt be there, and this must be prepared for," Ya'alon said.

Dempsey's trip comes as relations between Israel and the United States have cooled, notably because of differences in policy between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Israel's continued blockage of a peace plan through a two-state solution with Palestine.

Residences for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem and the West Bank continue to be constructed, despite nearly worldwide condemnation of the policy.

"If, in fact, there's no prospect of an actual peace process, then it becomes more difficult to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation. It's more difficult for me to say to them, 'Be patient and wait,'" Obama said last week in an interview with Israel's Channel 2.

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