Kerry "will not be intimidated" by Israeli threats over boycott comments
Amid a tense spat ongoing between the U.S. and Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that he would not be intimidated in his resolute quest for Mideast peace.
Israel and the U.S. have been at loggerheads after senior Israeli officials criticized Kerry for comments he made at the weekend that if the peace talks fail, Israel may be boycotted by a growing number of countries in the international community.
Israeli officials said that Kerry’s comments, which were made at a Munich security conference, were “offensive” and accused the Secretary of State of attempting to “amplify” the boycott threat, Agence France Presse reported.
Kerry responded to this critics Wednesday and claimed that his words had been distorted and that he was repeating what others had said previously.
The top U.S. official told CNN that he has “been attacked before by people using real bullets, not words, and I am not going to be intimidated,” referring to his time spent fighting in the Vietnam war, according to AFP.
“I am not going to stand down with respect to President (Barack) Obama's commitment to try to find peace in the Middle East,” he added.
It is Kerry’s intense diplomatic efforts that brought the Palestinians and Israelis back the negotiating table after three years of impasse in July 2013, and he is currently trying to hash out a framework agreement to guide the next stage of the talks as their April deadline looms.
Details of the framework agreement have been kept under wraps, but Kerry’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the verbal attacks were “a sign the heat is on” as the Israelis and Palestinians discuss some of the toughest issues that have divided the two sides, AFP reported.
The Secretary of State was “not going to spend a lot of time worrying about words people are using against him,” Psaki told reporters, according to AFP.
“His greatest concern about this is the impact they have or they could have on the process. That the words aren't an attack on him, they're actually an attack on the peace process itself.”
Kerry told CNN: “Unfortunately there are some people in Israel and in Palestine and in the Arab world and around the world who don't support the peace process.
“There are specifically some people who don't support two states,” he said, according to AFP, adding that however the majority of people wanted peace.