Israel Once Again Disappointed by Kerry’s Pathological Incompetence

Secretary of State John Kerry and the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, at the State Department on Wednesday. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry and the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, at the State Department on Wednesday. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images

For the NYTimesIsabel Kershner writes:  In an unusually pointed rebuke of an ally, Israel said on Wednesday that it was “deeply disappointed” by Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks a day earlier that appeared to lay primary blame on Israel for the crisis in the American-brokered Middle East peace talks.

The Israeli-Palestinian dispute that has brought the talks to the brink of collapse appeared to be developing into an open quarrel between Israel and the United States, even as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were said to be planning a third meeting here this week with American mediators to try to resolve the crisis.

“Poof, that was sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are.”

— Secretary of State John Kerry’s infamous “poof speech”

In a sign that the sides were still far from reconciled, Israel on Wednesday directed its government ministers and senior ministry officials to refrain from meeting with their Palestinian counterparts, a move that officials said could delay bilateral projects.

The ban on contacts does not apply to the negotiators, and Israeli officials signaled that coordination between the two sides on security issues would continue. But it was intended to send a message that there would be no business as usual.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Mr. Kerry said that both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides bore responsibility for “unhelpful” actions, but that the precipitating event of the impasse was Israel’s announcement of 700 new housing units for Jewish settlement in an area of Jerusalem across the 1967 lines, in territory the Palestinians claim for a future state.

“Poof, that was sort of the moment,” Mr. Kerry said. “We find ourselves where we are.”

In what is being referred to here as the “poof speech,” Mr. Kerry laid out the chain of events that led to the verge of a breakdown.

Clearly stung by Mr. Kerry’s portrayal and his focus on the settlement issue, Israel countered on Wednesday that it was the Palestinians who had “violated their fundamental commitments” by applying last week to join 15 international conventions and treaties.

Mr. Kerry’s remarks “will both hurt the negotiations and harden Palestinian positions,” said an official in the office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly…(read more)

NYTimes.com


3 Comments on “Israel Once Again Disappointed by Kerry’s Pathological Incompetence”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet For the NYTimes, Isabel Kershner writes: In an unusually pointed rebuke of an ally, Israel said on […]


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