Monday, February 3, 2014

Netanyahu, Kerry talk after public criticism

Kerry1JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu and John Kerry discussed the developing framework agreement in a telephone call hours after the Israeli prime minister accused the U.S. secretary of state of promoting a boycott in a speech.

The two leaders spoke on Sunday night, Haaretz reported. The newspaper cited unnamed senior U.S. officials as saying the conversation dealt mostly with the framework agreement. The conversation came after Kerry met earlier on Sunday with Israeli Justice Minister and chief Israeli peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, and negotiator Isaac Molho.

Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu, and other Israeli government officials, rapped John Kerry for warning that Israel would face more international boycotts if the peace process fails, during an address to the Munich Security Conference.

Netanyahu called boycotts “immoral and unjust.” He also said that boycotts push the peace process further away by causing the Palestinians “to adhere to their intransigent positions,” and that “no pressure will cause me to concede the vital interests of the State of Israel, especially the security of Israel’s citizens.”

The U.S. State Department responded to the criticism leveled at Kerry.

“Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel’s security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday. “Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.”

Kerry is expected to introduce his framework agreement proposal to the mostly stalled U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the coming weeks.


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