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In recording, John Kerry blames Israel for absence of peace with Palestinians

Former US secretary of state John Kerry is a co-leader in the Carter Center's election observation mission in Kenya
JOHN MUCHUCHA (AFP)
Kerry said the Palestinian Authority has done 'an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence.'

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed the continued absence of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Israeli leadership, in recordings of his remarks at a closed conference in Dubai earlier this year that were released on Tuesday by Israel’s Channel 10.

In particular, Kerry accused Israel of falling short in its failure to allow for Palestinians to fully exercise their civil rights.

“If you see 40,000 kids marching up to the wall everyday with signs saying ‘give us our rights,’ I mean, I don’t think Palestine is going to be immune forever to the civil rights movements that have swept other nations in the world, and somehow, Israel is ignoring this today.” Kerry said. “That’s not leadership.”

Alternatively, Kerry insisted that the PA for its part has done “an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence.”

The former US Secretary of State added that “if you don’t have leaders who don’t want to make peace, if the equation doesn’t change, I’ll be amazed if within the next 10 years if we don’t see some young (Palestinian) leader come along who says ‘we have tried non-violence for the last 30 years and look, it hasn’t gotten us anything.’”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however, has repeatedly placed focus on the PA’s continued refusal to remove its policy of financially rewarding terrorists and their family members.

Responding to Kerry’s remarks at the conference in Dubai, Netanyahu’s office stated that the prime minister “will continue to stand firm on the security and national interests of the State of Israel, even if it does not get the approval of those who have tried to push him into dangerous concessions and failed doing so.”

AFP

Kerry had strongly pushed for a framework agreement to be reached between Israel and the PA within an approximate nine-month time span, engaging in constant shuttle diplomacy from the second half of 2013 until April of 2014. The effort failed after Israel refused Kerry’s request to release a fourth batch of terrorists as a gesture to the PA.

“The reason why there is no peace is first and foremost, the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel in any borders,” Netanyahu’s office continued. “It is unfortunate that John Kerry to this day, has not understood that.”

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who had served under Netanyahu while Kerry was engaging in shuttle diplomacy between Israel and the PA, also criticized Kerry’s assertions in Dubai.

“What I think about John Kerry, his political initiative and his ‘security plan’ has already been leaked in a private conversation, by a journalist,” Ya'alon wrote on Twitter.

Back in January of 2014, Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Ya'alon had referred to Kerry as “obsessive” and “messianic” in conversations with associates, pointing to the former secretary of state’s aggressive push to make a final peace agreement for Israel and the PA.

Jack Guez (AFP/File)

“The only thing that can ‘save’ us is for John Kerry to win his Nobel Prize and leave us alone,” Ya'alon was reported to have said at the time. “In effect, during these past months, there haven’t been negotiations with the Palestinians, but with the Americans.”

The Channel 10 report also said that Arab-Israeli Member of Knesset, Ayman Odeh (Joint List) had also attended the conference along with a number of other senior governmental officials from other countries in the region. Israel’s Opposition leader, Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) also participated, albeit by video.

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