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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Secretary of State John Kerry’

Kerry Cancels Cairo Trip, Slams Hamas

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled a trip to Cairo at the last minute Tuesday, then blamed Hamas for ignoring a ceasefire with Israel by bombarding Israeli cities throughout the day.

Dozens of rockets have battered Israeli cities since the ceasefire was due to begin at 9:00 this morning, striking as far as Zichron Yaakov, some 150 kilometres north of The Strip.

According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, Kerry told reporters in Vienna, “I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports.

“Hamas is purposely playing politics” by continuing the rocket fire, using innocents as “human shields… against the laws of war… that is why they are a terrorist organization,” Kerry added

The paper said Kerry is prepared to return to the region in order to nurture a ceasefire deal, but at the moment he is scheduled to return to Washington after talks in Vienna with Iranian officials about that country’s nuclear program.

Kerry, after Schumer Criticism, Seeks to Allay Skepticism

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

By Jacob Kamaras/JNS.org

After he was apparently criticized by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for comments he made last month on boycotts of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry in his Monday address at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference sought to allay skepticism on nuclear negotiations with Iran and Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations.

Without mentioning Kerry by name, Schumer apparently took a shot at the secretary of state by saying those with “even with the best of intentions” who warn Israel that it will face increased boycotts if it does not reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians “have it all wrong.”

“Those quote unquote friends [of Israel] should be condemning the boycotts in any possible way, weakening them,” Schumer said.

In February, at the Munich Security Conference, Kerry said in connection with the outcome of the U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian talks, “There are talks of boycotts [of Israel] and other kinds of things. Are we all going to be better with all of that?” President Barack Obama, asked by Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg if he agreed with Kerry’s assessment on boycotts, said in comments published Sunday that Kerry “has been simply stating what observers inside of Israel and outside of Israel recognize, which is that with each successive year, the window is closing for a peace deal that both the Israelis can accept and the Palestinians can accept.”

Obama also said, “If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction—and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time… If Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout [for Israel] is going to be limited.”

On Monday, Kerry told AIPAC, “I will continue to staunchly, loudly and unapologetically oppose boycotts of Israel. That will never change.”

Regarding the nuclear talks, Kerry said there is a “healthy debate” on the effectiveness of the negotiations and that “we welcome that.” He said American diplomacy with Iran “is guided by a simple bottom line: no deal is better than a bad deal.”

“The truth is, it is strong diplomacy that has actually made this moment [of getting Iran to negotiate] possible, and we need to give it the space to work,” Kerry said.

The interim nuclear deal with Iran, according to Kerry, has “not changed one piece of the sanctions architecture, and yet we are able to negotiate.”

“This is not a process that is about trusting Tehran,” he said. “This is about testing Tehran. And you can be sure that if Iran fails this test, American will not fail Israel. That I promise.”

A “good deal” with Iran would make certain that Iran could not obtain nuclear weapons, continually ensure that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful, and expand Iran’s “breakout” time for obtaining a nuclear weapon so that the world could act if Iran takes improper steps, Kerry explained.

Schumer—one of 26 senators to cosponsor the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act, which would levy additional sanctions on Iran should the Islamic Republic violate the terms of the six-month interim nuclear deal or fail to reach a final agreement—said America “must keep tough sanctions in place until Iran agrees to give up nuclear weapons.” The New York legislator criticized the terms of the interim deal, which gave Iran $7 billion in sanctions relief.

“It is no secret that I believe that we should not in the interim agreement have reduced sanctions in any way, until Iran reduced its nuclear capability,” Schumer said, adding that many in Congress “believe that any reduction in sanctions relieves the psychological power of future sanctions” on Iran.

Black Magic of the Saudis

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Here’s Secretary of State John Kerry speaking with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah at his desert encampment Rawdat Khuraim on January 5, 2014.

It reminded me of this picture, depicting the meeting between King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin_D._Roosevelt_and_King_Ibn_Saud_of_Saudi_Arabia

At the time, the United States and Britain disagreed over the future of the Middle East. Following the Yalta conference in February, 1945, Roosevelt told Churchill that on his way home he was planning to meet with King Saud. What he meant was that the U.S. was planting its foot smack in the middle of the Middle East, which the Brits had considered their own private backyard.

Roosevelt asked King Saud about Palestine. The king bluntly stated that the Arabs would organize and slaughter the Jews should they dare to declare independence. His ruthless frankness left an impression on all the U.S. administrations to come, Democrat and Republican alike. Even today, when the U.S. no longer needs the Saudis for anything, not a thing, seeing as it’s pulling out of the region en masse, the Saudis still seem to have a magical influence on American decision making.

For a country where slavery and public executions are still very popular, they seem to find the ear of our leaders, no matter their stripes. It’s funny how Kerry, so hell bent on fixing that which ain’t broke in Israel, seems so comfortable in a country like Saudi Arabia, where the sound of misery and repression is deafening.


Kerry to Labor Party Leader: If No Deal by March, US Pulls Out

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry may look like he’s pulling all the stops in pushing an Israeli-Palestinian deal, but, according to newly elected Labor party chairman MK Yitzhak Herzog, the U.S. can also read the writing on the wall. Herzog told Maariv that should there be no significant movement by the end of March, “it looks like the U.S. will take a step back and lower its profile” on the negotiations.

At the same time, Herzog was quick to point out, Kerry is filled with optimism regarding the chances of the current talks, telling his Israeli supporter on the left that both Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas have made brave and significant concessions.

Kerry’s main point in his meeting with Israel’s opposition leader Herzog was to find out how many hands would be raised in the Knesset in support of the Netanyahu concessions.

“He asked us not to enable the toppling of Netanyahu should he lose parts of the right” in his own coalition, “who will decide to vote against him once there’s progress in the talks,” a source in Herzog’s circle told Maariv.

The ever-present danger in volatile votes like this, is that once the prime minister loses the support of a sizeable portion of his own coalition members, the next move is in the hands of the opposition leader, who calls for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. At this point, if the same coalition members are angry enough, they add their votes to the opposition and take down the government.

Herzog wasn’t going to do that over the “peace process.” But the question remains whether Netanyahu really ahs the votes supporting the uprooting a constantly shifting number of Jews from Judea and Samaria (that number has gone from 150,000 down to 80,000 – neither of which have much reality to them, because the Palestinians want everything and the settlers won’t budge either, at least not without riot police bashing their faces in, which could spell the end of Netanyahu’s marriage with the right).

The same source said they were surprised by the seriousness of the current phase in the talks, and the fact that they now include all the “heavy” subjects, such as the right of return for Palestinians from around the world into Israel proper, the status of Jerusalem, Israeli control over the Jordan Valley, and, presumably, land swaps of settlements and Israeli Arab cities.

According to Maariv, based on information from senior political officials, Kerry plans to set up a direct meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas moments after the American “framework” document is finalized.

Kerry “is determined to hold a political summit meeting between the two leaders, as soon as he succeeds in getting agreements for that famous document,” the sources said.

Mind you, the “framework document” is expected to be merely a list of all the issues about which both sides disagree. Also, the document will not require the two sides to sign it, merely to acknowledge that, indeed, they disagree on those issues.

That’s not a lot to ask for. But there’s a reason for this strange document, which presents as success something which should have been the opening notes of the talks, rather than the sum total of their achievements after 7 months. Kerry intends to use this manufactured “success” as a basis for issuing a one-year extension to the talks, which are slated to conclude—based on the Secretary’s time limit—this February.

No one beats the State Department in smoke and mirror acts (Defense concentrates more on dog and pony).

Which makes our own headline here, based on the revelations in Maariv, about as hokum as anything the Secretary has been scheming. Kerry imposes a deadline, then creates a means to schlep out the deadline ad infinitum, then threatens to take his ball and go home in March, but by the time March rolls in the teams will be deep in phase two – and achieving nothing.

Netanyahu Denies Urging Kerry to Reach Deal on Syria

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denies an incredulous Wall Street Journal report Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Journal is a very credible source, and governments often deny the truth, but this time around it can be assumed that Netanyahu is telling the truth and that the newspaper got its fact wrong.

It stated that on Sept. 11, Netanyahu told Kerry on the telephone that he did not think Russia was bluffing about striking a deal on international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The report also said that Israel shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The comments attributed to the prime minister from his conversation with Secretary Kerry on Sept. 11 are untrue,” a government official told the JTA. “The Wall Street Journal report is erroneous.”

Even if the Prime Minister told Kerry that Russia is not bluffing, that does not mean the Prime Minister “encouraged” the United States to accept the deal.

Netanyahu has been aggressively pushing for actin against the Assad regime. If the chemical weapons were to fall into the hands of the opposition, it might be a lot easier to make sure they don’t stay in their hands rather than to trust Assad and President Putin.

The JTA contributed to this report.

Likud MKs Rebel, Tell Netanyahu not To Give Land to PA

Monday, September 16th, 2013

A group of 16 Knesset Members in Israel’s governing coalition, many from the Likud that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads, wrote him on Sunday not to give up territory to the Palestinian Authority.

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the MKs called on Netanyahu “not to return to the Oslo Accord template or cede any more parts of the homeland to the Palestinian Authority.”

The letter was drafted by MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Beiteinu), chairman of the governing coalition, and MK Orit Struck (Jewish Home). It was also signed by deputy ministers Ze’ev Elkin, Tzipi Hotovely and Ofir Akunis of the Likud and  Eli Ben-Dahan and Avraham Wortzman of Jewish Home.

Meanwhile, Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom, a veteran and senior Likud leader, said that “no one believes a permanent agreement can be reached in nine months,” the timetable the U.S. has set for the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations.

PA Back in Town to Wink at PA’s Loaded Deck of Cards

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority Sunday to rah-rah “peace talks” even though the Palestinian Authority continues to violate the ground rules by threatening it will win recognition by several countries if the talks fail.

“Failure” in PA language means Israel’s insistence to actually negotiate at negotiations instead of signing on the dotted line, which would make Kerry and Obama very happy.

It is no wonder that Kerry, fresh from letting Vladimir Putin saving President Barack Obama from himself, is using the visit to show how much he loves Israel by meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to update him on Syrian President Bassar al-Assad’s pledge to get rid of his chemical weapons.

That is the same Assad who said last week that Syria he has no chemical weapons.

The United States knows just as much, if not more, about Assad’s chemical weapons thanks to Israeli intelligence than it does to its own. The most probable positive outcome for Kerry in his visit to Netanyahu will be a great photo-op for Jews to marvel how the Secretary of State thinks so much of Israel.

Of course, Kerry also will spread his wings over Ramallah and talk with Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, even though they met in London exactly seven days ago in London to discuss the “developments in direct peace talks that were resumed on July 14.”

PA and Israeli negotiators pledged to abide the American ground rules and to uncharacteristically be quiet, not update the media on progress or lack of progress and not negotiate through the media.

That rule applies to Israel but not to Saeb Erekat, senior negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, which has broken virtually every agreement it has signed with Israel, under American auspices, the past 20 years.

Erekat last week threatened that if the talks fail, the Palestinian Authority will go back to its two-year-old tactic of simply violating the Oslo Accords again and taking the unilateral move to obtain recognition as an independent country from countries ready to sign up.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which has senior authority over the PA, distributed to its executive committee a document in which Erekat states that some countries already have promised to recognize the “State of Palestine” if Israel does not grant it all of its political and territorial demands.

Erekat last week also issued a rather thinly-disguised threat of violence.

“We hope that the Israeli government understands that their impunity is evaporating and that it is in Israel’s interest to go for justice and peace rather settlements and Apartheid. Settlement construction shows a lack of seriousness towards the idea of a Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and security. We will be contacting different members within the international community in order to make clear to those who are trying to sabotage our efforts, that settlement construction has a price and that this price will continue to grow.

“Some people in Israel continue to believe that the endgame for negotiations should not be peace but rather, further colonization. We call upon all parties that had vigorously advocated for the resumption of negotiations to do whatever is needed to block and to punish the latest decisions made by the Israeli government and the Occupation Municipality in Jerusalem.”

That is pretty strong language for someone who is supposed to be holding “secret peace talks.”

Earlier this month, PLO secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo, always good for an anti-Zionist quote, pitched in and warned that Israel is risking a “political catastrophe” in the PA if it does not simply keep quiet and sign. A “political catastrophe” in the Palestinian Authority can only mean one of two things: an overthrow of Abbas or a new campaign of violence – oops, make that “resistance.”

He accused Israel of encouraging “settlers” to continue “violations” by building homes in Judea and Samaria and areas of Jerusalem claimed by the PA.

Abed Rabbo also violated Kerry’s ground rules by stating, “Until now there has been no progress” in the secret talks and that we’re now seeing what we expected — that there is little hope for their progress, in fact that hope is non-existent and negotiations are futile.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/pa-back-in-town-to-wink-at-pas-loaded-deck-of-cards/2013/09/15/

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