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Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:38:21 +0000
(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that he is still talking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about achieving a lasting truce, saying the two men spoke again Monday night.
“The prime minister talked to me about an idea and a possibility of a cease-fire, he raised it with me, as he has consistently,” Kerry said during a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
Kerry also dismissed the criticism that has been directed at him, including a blistering op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that likened him to “an alien, who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast.”
“I've taken hits before in politics; I'm not worried about that. This is not about me,” the almost three-decade veteran of the U.S. Senate said.
The Israelis have made no secret of their problems with a draft proposal Kerry gave them last week, which they contend gave too many concessions to Hamas. Kerry suggested that in this last conversation with Netanyahu, the prime minister underscored his desire for Israeli forces to continue destroying tunnels Hamas has built across the border.
The United States supports the Israel Defense Forces’ ability to do so, but that provision was not explicitly laid out in the proposal Kerry submitted to Israel last week.
“What we put on the table, in fact, allowed Israel -- let me make this clear -- allowed Israel to continue to deal with these tunnels even as they were in a short-term cease-fire to try to see if there was a way to reach a sustainable cease-fire,” Kerry insisted.
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