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Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Visits UVA - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Visits UVA

Posted: Updated: April 11, 2013 06:16 PM EDT

The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Dr. Michael Oren, made a special visit to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia on Thursday.  Oren shared a brief history of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, and how it continues to grow.

From democratic ties, to a strategic military alliance, Oren highlighted the different facets of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.  But a different relationship seemed to underpin the discussion Thursday afternoon - the longstanding strife between Israelis and Palestinians in the region.

That disagreement was brought to UVA Thursday, as pro-Palestinian protesters picketed the ambassador's visit.  UVA's Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine say they promote understanding and resolution with Israel. 

"In today's political scene I think it is a very important one. But I'm not trying to advocate for the termination of that relationship ultimately. I'm trying to advocate for the termination of specific parts of that relationship in terms of the U.S. promoting liberty and happiness for all," said Sasan Mousayi, protesting the ambassador's visit.

Ambassador Oren says Israel is committed to peaceful negotiations, but recognizes both sides will have to give.

"We have deep and multifaceted issues to work out with the Palestinians. We are going to have to make painful sacrifices, they are going to have to make painful sacrifices," Oren said. "There's also no shortcut."

President Obama took his first official trip to Israel late last month with Secretary of State John Kerry. The U.S. is currently working with Israel and Palestine to restart peace negotiations.

Thursday Oren said Israel will always remain America's strongest ally.

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