Rubio: Israel’s Security Is Key to Middle East Peace

Friday, 22 Feb 2013 01:21 PM

By Dan Weil

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Sen. Marco Rubio says Israel’s security must come first before a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

“No nation in the world has suffered more in recent times than Israel from war and violence, in terms of its neighbors,” the Florida Republican said at a press conference closing out a five-day trip to the Middle East, The Jerusalem Post reports.

“The greatest advancements in this [Israeli-Palestinian] process have always been made when Israel felt secure. There is a direct relationship between Israel’s security and the ability to make concessions and move forward.”

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Rubio said the ultimate solution to the conflict would have to be a separate state for Palestinians. But he insisted it must be negotiated between the two parties and not dictated by the United States or international agencies.

In addition, he said the United States should not intervene in Israel’s settlement policy and attempt to “dictate what the resolution of that issue should be.”

The senator cautioned against high expectations for the peace process beyond “what is immediately realistic, because expectations that are elevated, and then unmet, become counterproductive to the entire process.”

The visit to Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank by Rubio, who is considered a possible presidential contender in 2016, comes several weeks before President Barack Obama's scheduled trip to Israel next month. It will be Obama's first visit to the Jewish state as president.

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