Top U.S. General to Visit Israel for Talks With IDF Chief Ya'alon

Israeli military says General Martin Dempsey and his hosts will discuss 'issues of mutual strategic interest.'

General Martin Dempsey
Chairman of the Join Chief of Staff Army General Martin Dempsey in Fort Meade, Maryland March 28, 2014. Reuters

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, will visit Israel in the coming days.

On Sunday, General Dempsey will meet Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon in Jerusalem. On Monday, he will meet with his Israeli counterpart, IDF chief Benny Gantz.

In a statement, the Israeli military said Dempsey and his hosts would discuss "issues of mutual strategic interest, while continuing to build on this important defense relationship."  

The visit would reflect "the United States' unwavering commitment to Israel's security," it said.

Dempsey's visit comes as senior American officials have been holding marathon meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. They are attempting to resolve the crisis over the release of Palestinian prisoners and to formulate an agreement that will allow for the extension of negotiations between the two sides past April 29.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Abbas for a long time in Amman on Wednesday, trying to convince him to agree to extend the negotiations. As he met with Abbas, Kerry also spoke on the phone with Netanyahu. On Thursday, while he was in Rome accompanying U.S. President Barack Obama on his visit, Kerry continued his phone conversations with both Netanyahu and Abbas.