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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Washington (AFP) — Israeli attacks against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accusing him being of a supporter of Islamic militants are “offensive and absurd,” a senior U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.

In a sharp exchange with reporters, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf hit out against a torrent of abuse from “respected voices in Israel talking about the secretary of state, claiming that he supports Hamas, which is offensive and absurd.”

The United States had been giving Israel “a level of support which has been quite frankly unprecedented in our history, even when we stood alone,” she added.

After last week’s failed bid to mediate a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, Kerry has been pilloried in the Israeli press for submitting a plan on Friday to the Israeli government, which the security cabinet unanimously rejected.

“He’s a friend of Israel, but with friends like these, sometimes it’s better to negotiate with your enemies,” said Nahum Barnea, writing in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot.

The secretary of state has also been described in the press as a “bull in a china shop,” and an “amateur who thinks he can solve the world’s problems with his presence alone.”

Harf hit back that saying “that kind of criticism coming from any ally, certainly Israel, just really has no place in this discussion.”

“The hours all of us have spent with the secretary in Jerusalem, trying to get Middle East peace, trying to protect Israel’s security, I think that’s why it’s so disappointing,” Harf added.

AFP Photo/Raveendran

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  • Dominick Vila

    After decades of unconditional support, even mild efforts to moderate the retaliation for the murders of 3 Israeli teenagers, are regarded as evidence of sympathy towards Islamic radicals.
    I wonder how Netanyahu and his ilk feel about the UN and all the recent pronouncements made by outraged European leaders, and Europeans at large?
    The problem this time is not the fact that Israel punished the Palestinian teenagers responsible for the murder of 3 Israeli teenagers, the problem is the magnitude of the retaliation, which exceed civilized norms of conduct.
    Mr. Netanyahu may not realize this, or may not care, but has inflicted irreparable damage to the credibility and image of Israel, and the consequences of his latest excesses may be very difficult to overcome. Going after officials from the only country that will stand by their side, regardless of what they do, is not a good idea.