Excerpts from GOP’s Mideast platform

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 1 (JTA) — The following are excerpts from the Middle East and Persian Gulf section of the Republican Party platform, adopted at the party’s national convention here this week:

• We have four priorities for the Middle East. First, we seek to promote and maintain peace throughout the region. Second, we must ensure that Israel remains safe and secure. Third, we must protect our economic interests and ensure the reliable flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. And fourth, we must reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the region.

• It is important for the United States to support and honor Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East.

• We will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative edge in defensive technology over any potential adversaries.

• We will not pick sides in Israeli elections.

• The United States has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its embassy and ambassador in Jerusalem. Immediately upon taking office, the next Republican president will begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

• The United States seeks a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. America can use its prestige to encourage discussions and negotiations. But peace must be negotiated between the parties themselves. We will not impose our view or an artificial timetable.

• A new Republican administration would oppose any such declaration [of Palestinian independence]. It will also do everything possible to promote the conclusion of a genuine peace in the Middle East. While we have hopes for the peace process, our commitment to the security of Israel is an overriding moral and strategic concern.

• Iran’s record of supporting terrorism, opposing the Middle East peace process, developing weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and its denial of human rights, most recently demonstrated in the trial and conviction of Iranian Jews on unfounded espionage charges, demonstrates that Tehran remains a dangerous threat to the United States and our interests in the region. The next Republican administration will form its policy toward Iran based on Iranian actions, not words. It will stop making unilateral gestures toward the Iranian government which, to date, have failed to result in a change in Iranian behavior. We will work to convince our friends and allies, most importantly the Europeans, to join us in a firm, common approach toward Iran.

• Republicans endorse continued assistance and support for countries that have made peace with Israel — led by Egypt and Jordan. We appreciate the significant contributions by Jordan to our common struggle against terrorism, and will take steps to bolster relations with Amman, including negotiating a U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.