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January 25, 2013

Kerry wants to hit ground running on peace talks

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JERUSALEM POST

WASHINGTON – At John Kerry’s confirmation hearings Thursday to be the next US secretary of state, the Massachusetts senator said he hoped the Israeli elections would help restart the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

“My prayer is that perhaps this can be a moment where we can renew some kind of effort to get the parties into a discussion, to have a different track than we’ve been on over the course of the last couple of years,” he told Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is the current chairman.

Kerry said he believed there was a possibility of Israelis and Palestinians reaching an agreement, which he described as “an incredibly important issue” that he would work hard on.


“So much of what we need to aspire to achieve and what we need globally … all of this is tied to what can and doesn’t happen with respect to Israel/Palestine,” he said, pointing to issues in the Maghreb, South Asia, the Gulf and elsewhere.

He also warned that failure could mean that the window for a two-state solution could shut, and that that would be “disastrous.”

Kerry declined to spell out how he would approach talks between the two parties, suggesting that it could be detrimental to get into details at this point.

“I don’t want to prejudice it with public demands to any party at this point in time,” he explained.

But he stressed, “I will never step back from my commitment to the State of Israel [or] from the plight of Palestinians.”

At another point in the hearing, though, Kerry had stern words for the Palestinians.

Asked about the recent Palestinian bid before the United Nations, Kerry warned against the Palestinians taking advantage of their new non-member status at the world body to take Israel to the International Criminal Court or other unilateral steps.

“They’re getting close to a line that would be very damaging,” he said. “If there were any effort to take Israel, for instance, to the ICC… that’s the kind of unilateral action we would feel very, very strongly against and see it as completely counterproductive.”

Kerry also addressed the challenge of Iran, in which he echoed the White House line on the subject.

“Our policy is not containment, it is prevention, and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance,” he said in his opening statement.

He added that he and the president “prefer a diplomatic resolution to this challenge, and I will work to give diplomacy every effort to succeed.”

But he emphasized, “No one should mistake our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat.”

His first questioner, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, who chaired Thursday’s hearing and is in line to take Kerry’s place, is a strong supporter of Iran sanctions who has sponsored legislation on the subject. He referred obliquely to some hesitance that the Obama administration has had in seeing Congress approve tough sanctions that it, particularly the state department, must then implement.

“Under your leadership, will the department be committed to the full enforcement of the sanctions passed by Congress?” Menendez asked.

Kerry’s answer: “Yes, totally.”

Kerry was treated graciously by his colleague and is expected to be easily confirmed to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

He did have a slightly sharper exchange with Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, who questioned him on the United States’ decision to give Egypt F-16s after President Mohamed Morsi’s comments referring to Jews and Israelis as descendants of apes and pigs.

Kerry responded by calling those comments “reprehensible,” “degrading,” “unacceptable” and “set back the possibilities of working toward issues of mutual interest. He added that there needed to be an apology, and noted that Morsi had proceeded to make two statements of clarification.

But he said that Egypt was very important for the US and that the relationship was not “black and white,” noting for instance that Cairo had maintained its peace treaty with Israel.

Paul, however, suggested that sending fighter jets to Egypt could endanger Israel, to which Kerry replied that the US was committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.

“We do not sell weapons and will not sell weapons that will upset that qualitative balance,” he said.

Posted by Ted Belman @ 6:46 am | 18 Comments »



18 Responses to Kerry wants to hit ground running on peace talks

  1. NormanF says:

    The problem is the Arabs are uninterested in peace.

    The most experienced men are also the most glib fools.

    Common sense notions of reality are not applicable to the Middle East.

  2. Joe Hamilton says:

    So great war hero (who received the purple heart for suffering very superficial laceration on one finger) wants the Jews to negotiate their own suicide with the baby murdering trespassing Fakestinians who couldn’t care less about having their own country since they don’t even call themselves “Palestinians” amongst themselves. A better idea would to discuss how this phony gigolo can commit suicide instead of the Jews committing suicide by giving the Fakestinians their own country and how dare he even such an idea. I hope I see the day when an Israeli Prime minister tells the endless stream of US high officials to shove to “credits” up their behinds and mind their own business. A better idea would be to discuss reparations to the Jewish people for deliberately barring European Jews who had visas to immigrate to the USA from entering the precious USA and deliberately refusing to grant visas to Jews facing certain death and leaving 10s of thousands of immigration quota spots used when there were only 130 million people instead of the current population of 310 million. The second item to discuss would be reparations to Israel for , after refusing to sell any weapons to Israel or keeping the promise of the anti-Semite and awful general Eisenhower to guarantee the US would stop the Egyptians from blocking access to Eilat if Israel would return the Sinai in 1956, and then in June 1967 sending the spy ship the USS Liberty, anchoring it close to the coast of Israel and stabbing Israel in the back by transmitting Israeli troop depositions to Egypt and Syria via the British Nazis helping the Arabs during the Six Day War.Another item to discuss would be reparations to American Jews for the incredible discrimination inflicted on Jews by the US government and the major US corporations such as IBM, GE, Bell Telephone and Ford. Henry Ford was tremendously admired by Hitler for this vicious antisemitism.

  3. Joe Hamilton says:

    correction last sentence:Henry Ford the vicious anti-Semite was tremendously admired by Adolf Hitler.

  4. rongrand says:

    Stay home Kerry.

    Don’t waste your time, your no statesman.

    Here’s a worthwhile project for you, move the American Embassy to Jerusalem the capital of the sovereign Jewish Nation of Israel where it belongs.

    By the way if you haven’t noticed the Palestinians do not seek peace, the peace they want is a large piece of Israel and they can’t have it.

    Stay home and enjoy Heinz ketchup.

  5. Sharbano says:

    Why is it Every politician thinks they have the secret to resolve the conflict. Every time they stick their noses in it just makes it worse.

  6. Bear Klein says:

    Kerry just like his boss to be Obama are lefty fools. Kerry on behalf of Obama will try and pressure Israel to make stupid concessions like stopping building again for the honor of sitting in the same room with holocaust denier Abbas. Abbas says the Zionists where buddies with the Nazis, before World War II. Certainly you can make peace with Abbas. That is if you agree to move out of Israel and move to Uganda or Greenland.

    The whole concept of trying to make peace with the Arabs is tragic because not dealing with reality costs lives. Look at all the dead and wounded Israelis since Oslo.

  7. rongrand says:

    @ Bear Klein:

    Bear, you don’t have to sugar coat it. Let’s face it I have stated it many time, Ovomit is nothing more than an acorn community organizing pamphlet distributing anti-Semite pretending to be a Christian for political reason who embraces Islam, orchestrated by George Soros & co and the liberal left media, an incompetent president”.

    Nothing more, a real phony.

  8. Laura says:

    “So much of what we need to aspire to achieve and what we need globally … all of this is tied to what can and doesn’t happen with respect to Israel/Palestine,” he said, pointing to issues in the Maghreb, South Asia, the Gulf and elsewhere.

    This is ludicrous. None of the turmoil taking place in the region has anything to do with the Israel-”palestinian” situation.

  9. Laura says:

    I think we should refer to him as Secretary Lurch.

  10. Bill Narvey says:

    From Kerry’s quoted remarks, it seems pretty clear he is Obama’s mouthpiece.

    1.

    he believed there was a possibility of Israelis and Palestinians reaching an agreement,

    That is Obama’s view and based on the premise that anything under the sun is possible.

    2.

    failure (ie of efforts to negotiate a TSS) could mean that the window for a two-state solution could shut, and that that would be “disastrous.”

    Really? Obama ignores that the TSS was still born, has been rendered moribund, mostly because of intractable Palestinian Jew/Israel hatred and rejectionism and is impossible to achieve short of a major attitude adjustment of the Palestinians/Arabs and Muslim world at large. Then again Kerry is the mouthpiece of Obama so don’t expect him to exercise an independent thought.

    3.

    “Our policy is not containment, it is prevention, and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance,” he said in his opening statement.

    Right! Everything Obama has done so far speaks to U.S. policy to be something less than containment and instead acceptance of the status quo of a WMD capable Iran.

    4.

    He added that he and the president “prefer a diplomatic resolution to this challenge, and I will work to give diplomacy every effort to succeed.”

    A diplomatic resolution is preferable? Well just about everyone would agree with that. The facts however, are practically compelling that there is no chance that a diplomatic solution can be reached.

    5.

    “No one should mistake our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat.”

    Why not? Every indication from Obama is that he has no resolve to reduce the nuclear threat from Iran, but rather only empty rhetoric to that end. Iran knows it is empty rhetoric.

    6. “I will never step back from my commitment to the State of Israel [or] from the plight of Palestinians.” Really? Obama arranging for Morsi to have the balance of the order of F16′s and a great many combat tanks, in spite of Morsi’s obvious anti-Israel and anti-American hard core views, is hardly a sign of concern for Israel. Just who does Kerry/Obama figure these military supplies will be used against?

    As for the plight of Palestinians? Get real! When Obama/Kerry start factually damning Palestinians for their treachery, breach of just about every promise or agreement they have ever made with Israel or America, their intractable Jew/Israel hatred and rejectionism and by virtue of that their concernted and sustained efforts to avoid making peace with Israel, maybe there will be a little room in the heart of the Obama administration for any sorry aspect of the plight of Palestinians, but will lay the blame on Palestinian leadership for that suffering.

    I could go on, but you all get the message.

  11. steven l says:

    Kerry better remember that Arafat (as per B. Clinton) and Abbas (according to Olmert) both REFUSED to provide peaceful counter-offer (except for Intifada) to IL. Therefore Mr. Kerry needs to start with the Pal and not Israel. Any new attempt for Intifada III must be dealed with very harshly.
    IL must reject any attempt to be bullied bu anyone in the West.

  12. steven l says:

    As far as Iran is concerned, its people must look for the example taking place right now in Egypt. If they fight the Ayatollahs there is hope!

  13. Honey Bee says:

    @ rongrand:

    Perhaps Teresa will BUY peace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Honey Bee says:

    @ steven l:

    I bet you velieve in the “tooth fairy”

  15. steven l says:

    @ Honey Bee:
    I DO NOT!

  16. the phoenix says:

    @ steven l:

    As far as Iran is concerned, its people must look for the example taking place right now in Egypt. If they fight the Ayatollahs there is hope!

    Make no mistake Steve, even if the green revolution were to win, they would not send a peace emissary to Jerusalem, that’s for sure.
    Not unlike Syria now.
    So what IS good for Israel?
    Let them kill each other, round after round after round…rinse and repeat!

  17. Honey Bee says:

    @ the phoenix:

    You bet chum Rider Ryder

  18. Honey Bee says:

    @ steven l:

    just checking

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