US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power on Tuesday met with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to discuss measures aimed at countering shared regional security threats posed by Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic State terror groups.
During the meeting Power, who arrived in Israel for a series of high-level diplomatic talks on Saturday, noted the “unprecedented level of intelligence and security cooperation” between Jerusalem and Washington, the State Department said.
Senior IDF officers briefed Power on the various security challenges facing Israel, during a helicopter tour of the country joined by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro.
Power and Ya’alon also discussed the urgent need to find a political solution to the Syrian civil war and ways Israel could play a role in future UN peacekeeping efforts.
A day earlier, Power accused the UN of bias against Israel, and pointed to the longtime rejection of rescue organization ZAKA as proof of the world body’s singling out of Israel for criticism. ZAKA was finaly accepted this year after several years of rejections.
“Bias has extended well beyond Israel as a country, Israel as an idea,” she said of the UN and particularly the UN Human Rights Council while addressing a group of Model UN participants at a school near Tel Aviv on Monday.
Power also met with Netanyahu Monday to discuss “steps that could be taken to preserve prospects” for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While Power admitted the current situation was not ripe for new negotiations, she said Washington would continue to move the two sides towards “being in a position to restart the negotiations.”
On her four-day visit Israel, Power also defended the Iran nuclear deal, saying Tehran’s compliance with the accord so far was “strong,” but warned the Islamic Republic was still helping fuel terrorism and regional conflicts, including Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad.
Israel strongly opposed the deal with its arch-foe, with Netanyahu warning it would not block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, and would allow Tehran to further back proxy militants and terror groups in the region. Netanyahu’s outspoken criticism of the accord, particularly in a speech to the US Congress last year, led to a rift with US President Barack Obama’s administration.
He has since scaled back his rhetoric, and the United States and Netanyahu’s government are currently negotiating a new 10-year defense aid package expected to be an increase over the current $3.1 billion Israel receives annually.
Power’s visit comes amid a wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks that erupted in October and has killed over 25 Israelis, as well as an Eritrean, an American and a Palestinian bystander.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.