Susan Rice
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice Photo by AP
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The United States will continue to maintain Israel's military advantage as well as protect it in the diplomatic arena, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Wednesday, adding that the American commitment to Israel's security was "not negotiable."

Speaking during a reception for Israeli Ambassadors Gabriela Shalev and Daniel Carmon, held by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York, Rice said the "United States of America remains fully and firmly committed to the peace and security of the State of Israel."

"That commitment spans generations and political parties. It is not negotiable, and it never will be," Rice added, saying the United States would "continue to strengthen Israel’s qualitative military advantage so that Israel can always defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats."

The U.S. UN envoy also reiterated the U.S. conviction to defend Israel in the diplomatic arena, saying that, "as U.S. President Barack Obama] pledged, we will continue U.S. efforts to combat all international attempts to challenge the legitimacy of Israel—including and especially at the United Nations."

"Our two countries have a long and extraordinary friendship, going back to the moment that President Truman made the United States the very first country to recognize the State of Israel—11 minutes after it declared its independence," Rice said.

Referring to recent attempts to jumpstart the stalling peace process The U.S. envoy to the UN also said that in the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's " recent meeting with President Obama, we will continue to work together to seek a lasting and comprehensive peace, that meets Israel’s security needs and creates a viable, sovereign Palestinian state."

On the subject of the outgoing Israeli ambassador to the UN, Rice praised Shalev's work, saying that while "being the American Ambassador to the United Nations isn’t always easy…being Israeli’s Ambassador to the United Nations is never easy."

"But Gabi and I had the opportunity to work closely together on a series of important issues, from dealing with the deeply flawed Goldstone Report to seeing through the passage by the Security Council of the toughest sanctions resolution to date against Iran," Rice said, adding that Shalev had been "a lioness in defense of Israel’s security and its legitimacy."

Shalev, Rice said, worked tirelessly to ensure that Israel has the same rights and enjoys the same responsibilities as any other UN member state."

Rice also went to compliment the Israeli envoy, comparing her to other Israeli greats who had served as Israel's UN envoys, such as "Abba Eban, Chaim Herzog, and a scrappy up-and-comer named Bibi Netanyahu."

"But I believe when the history books are written, in all honesty, historians will rank Gabriella Shalev as among the best representatives that Israel has ever had at the United Nations for her dedication, her skill, and her extraordinary heart," Rice said at the Conference of Presidents reception.

The American ambassador to the UN also pointed out a reception Shalev hosted in honor of Israel's independence, one that was attended by "many, many ambassadors, from all over the world were there"

"And they were there not only out of respect for Israel but deep and abiding friendship for Gabriella," Rice said, adding that Shalev was her "kind of diplomat," saying she was "smart, she’s creative, and above all, she always plays it straight."