Today, in Washington, D.C., senior U.S. and Israeli civilian and military officials convened the first in-person, bilateral Joint Political-Military Group (JMPG) since the start of the COVID pandemic. The United States and Israel both recognize the world is at an inflection point in history – not only in the Middle East region, where Israel is witnessing unprecedented advances in its relationships with regional partners, but also as the world comes together to bolster Ukraine, as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Today’s dialogue provided an opportunity to discuss issues of joint concern and explore mutually beneficial opportunities, while underpinning the United States’ continued commitment to Israel’s security, including its commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and to support Israel’s capabilities to address any current and future threat.
Derek Chollet, the Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, alongside senior officials from the Bureaus of Political-Military Affairs and Near Eastern Affairs, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, welcomed the Israeli delegation led by Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Major General (ret.) Amir Eshel. Director General Eshel was accompanied by the Director of the Policy & Political-Military Division, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Deputy Director General for Strategic Affairs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and senior representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Serving as the State Department’s primary security and political-military dialogue with Israel, today’s engagement presented an opportunity for both delegations to discuss strengthening security cooperation in the context of evolving regional and global dynamics to enhance regional stability. Both delegations acknowledged the rising level of violence in the West Bank and emphasized the importance of de-escalation to mitigate conflict and ease tensions, alongside the determined fight against terrorism.
This year’s JPMG focused on burgeoning opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation and U.S. support for Israeli force build-up to address shared regional concerns, the impacts of strategic competition at both the regional and global-level, defense exports, and other foreign policy considerations. Director General Eshel and Counselor Chollet both emphasized the unprecedented cooperation between the United States and Israel, reaffirming the ironclad strategic partnership between our two countries. They also focused on cooperation against the Iranian nuclear and regional threats, the opportunities created by the Abraham Accords, and the evolving cooperation between the Israel Defense Forces and the Department of Defense, with U.S. Central Command leading operational expansion of military cooperation. Counselor Chollet and Director General Eshel confirmed the shared commitment to a credible military threat in order to deter Iran. Director General Eshel expressed appreciation for the American government’s steadfast support and partnership in ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge.
For nearly four decades, since its inception in 1983, when President Reagan and Prime Minister Shamir announced the formation of the JPMG, this forum has served a crucial role in further strengthening the security ties between our two countries. The JPMG reflects the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel’s security, including supporting Israel’s ability to maintain a qualitative military edge in conventional military capability. The United States is committed to Israel’s security; the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding on security assistance to Israel, the largest commitment of U.S. security assistance in history, is demonstrative of these ironclad commitments.
Joint Statement of the 48th U.S.-Israel Joint Political-Military Group, U.S. State Department, (October 25, 2022).