News / Middle East

    Israeli Foreign Minister Defends Peacemaker Kerry

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks past American and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Jan. 6, 2014.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks past American and Israeli flags at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Jan. 6, 2014.
    Reuters
    Israel's right-wing foreign minister on Friday defended U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry whose Middle East peace drive has seen mounting criticism from within the Israeli government.
     
    The conciliatory remarks by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has previously been a vocal critic of international efforts to set up a Palestinian state on Israeli-occupied territory, could help Kerry cobble together consensus for pursuing the peace negotiations.
     
    “I want to make clear - Kerry is a true friend of Israel,” Lieberman told business leaders in Tel Aviv. “What is the point of turning friend into foe?”
     
    Lieberman has taken a more circumspect tack since resuming the role of foreign minister after he was cleared of graft charges last year.
     
    Kerry launched the latest Israeli-Palestinian peace push last July and has visited the region more than 10 times in the past year. He hopes to complete a “framework” accord by an April deadline and will then try to negotiate a final peace deal by the end of 2014, a U.S. official has said. However, both sides are standing firm on their demands in decades-old disputes.
     
    Israeli ultra-nationalists and their representatives in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government have come out against the prospect - however remote - of removing Jewish settlers, citing historical claims on biblical lands sought by the Palestinians for an independent state.
     
    Future of government
     
    Kerry has been criticized from within the Israeli government in recent weeks. Israeli media quoted Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon as ridiculing Kerry as “messianic” over U.S. proposals that could increase Palestinian security controls in the West Bank were Israel to withdraw.
     
    After Kerry warned last week that Israel's international isolation could deepen along with the diplomatic deadlock, another senior Israeli minister said the Netanyahu government would not negotiate “with a gun to its head”.
     
    Lieberman said fellow rightists were “competing to show off rhetorical ability - who can be more crass, more vociferous” against Kerry, adding, “This fulmination does not help. We should relax a little.”
     
    Lieberman's Israel is Our Home party formed a joint list with Netanyahu's Likud ahead of the last election. Their coalition government includes the ultranationalist Jewish Home party, which opposes Palestinian statehood and has chafed at Israel's cooperation with Kerry.
     
    A Palestinian peace deal was unlikely to break up the government, Lieberman said, playing down the risk of a Jewish Home walkout.

    “There's no option of changing the coalition. When there is a dispute between the wholeness of the nation and the wholeness of the land, the wholeness of the nation is more important,” Lieberman said, signaling his support for potential future territorial handovers.
     
    He praised Kerry for handling the negotiations “in the proper manner”.
     
    Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador in Israel, predicted the parties would agree on a peacemaking “framework” by April.
     
    “There is a discussion of the caveats that the two sides might have regarding this framework, that is possible too, but the objective is that this will be a framework affirming that the negotiations will continue,” he told Israel's Army Radio.
     
    Israeli censure of Kerry was “absurd and hurtful”, he said.
     
    “This negotiation, this process, is not about Secretary of State John Kerry. It is a process about the future of the people of Israel and the Palestinian people and their chances of achieving peace, security and prosperity,” Shapiro said.

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    by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
    February 11, 2014 11:29 PM
    MOHAMMED NEVER BEEN TO ISRAEL
    From 326-638 CE, The Byzantine was in controlled of Jerusalem. And Mohammed was alive and living in Mecca, and the mosque during his days were in Mecca and Medina. Not Jerusalem. Mohammed has never been to Jerusalem as Sura 17 teaches, there is no historical evidence to proved their claim. At that time Jerusalem was under the controlled of the Byzantine.
    Muslims didn't captured Jerusalem until AD 638 by Caliph Omar or Mohammed. Muslims controlled Jerusalem until 1099 AD, and in 1096 AD, Pope Urban called for the crusaders to liberate the holy places. The crusaders army was led by Godfrey,they captured Jerusalem and slaughter the Jews and Muslims, and Godfrey made his brother Baldwin the king of Jerusalem in Bethlehem in AD 1101. So the Fact that the Arabs say Jerusalem,Israel is for them, that is not true, it is a lied we should slain.God Bless Israel, God Bless the Jews

    by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
    February 11, 2014 4:35 AM
    When it comes to the middle east, and the Arabs and Israeli conflict, there are Biblical truth that points to the ownership of that land, and there are Koranic truth that points to the ownership of that land, and also there are historical truth and facts that point to the Jews as the rightful owner of that land.
    there were lot of Empire that was in control of the of Israel, it did not say palestine.
    The Persian period 539-332 BCE
    The Hellenistic Period 332-167 BCE
    The Hasmonean Period 267-63 BCE
    The Roman period 63 BCE-324 CE
    and in 132 CE Simon Bar Kochba led a revolt against the Roman
    In 135 CE, the Emperor Hadrian rebuild Jerusalem and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina, and also renamed Judea Israel to Palestine,
    The Byzantine Period 324-638 AD
    the Early Muslim period 638- 1099 AD
    The Crusader period 1099-1187 AD
    The Ayyubid period 1187-1517 AD
    The Ottoman Period period 1517- 1917 AD, then come the British period 1917- 1948, the Balfour declaration and the rebirth of the State of Israel, May 15, 1948, it didn't Palestine, it said Israel.
    The Koran itself states that the land is for Israel, Sura 5:20-21,Sura 44:32-33, Sura 45:16, all these Koranic verses proved that the land is for Israel. muslim must respect their Koran. because the Koran has also agreed with us who say that the land is for the Jews. God Bless Israel, and God Bless the Jewish people.

    by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
    February 11, 2014 1:14 AM
    Let us be clear here, Mr Obama and Secretary Kerry has not been a true friend of Israel. Let us stop playing politics and face the fact. Those so call Palestinian doesn't want peace with Israel, they want the Jewish Land. the fact of the matter is, they need to go back to their country. the Late Yassah Arafat was born in Egypt August 24, 1929, He was an Egyptian, those people that call themselves Palestinian are from Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. In 1948. when the Jews came back to their Biblical home land, those so call Arabs came to Israel to look for bread, because they were suffering in their country. what more land does the Arab need from Israel? The first and foremost is, the Obama administration need to recognized that, the Land is for the Jewish people, and the Security of Israel come first. without this there can be no peace. it is time that America show here true color, or she needs to go back to history. (1) so call Ramallah, Ramah was the birth place of Benjamin, it is the place Rachel weep for her Children, Jer 31:15, it is the home time of the Prophet Samuel, it is the home place of Hannah and your Husband Elkanah, it is the city of the Benjaminites, and the Arabs renamed that place Ramallah. God Bless Israel, and God bless the Jewish People

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    February 08, 2014 7:40 AM
    Peacemaker Kerry? What we see is a Kerry that wants peace for Israel at Israel's expense, and to the benefit of his ego and that of his mentor's primary constituency - the ilsamic world. There are also those who want peace for Israel just so that they have reason to be happy about shortchanging Israel. What Britain and its likes want to achieve by that, one does not immediately know, but it is glaring that Britain and its bloc in Europe is working on a pedestal that appears not too favorable to the cause of peace with respect to the so-called occupied lands.

    However, defending this peacemaker is about being diplomatic. Kerry should use what the general feeler is on the ground and in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and not what he thinks is just right for the people, for he is dealing for men and adults not minors. While Israel's security concerns have not been addressed, Kerry wants Israel to continue to swap lands that the Palestinians in Gaza, and the terrorists in South Lebanon - Hezbollah - will use as launch pad to shoot at Israel. But it goes beyond asking Israel to give up lands, for those Israelis now living in such areas that are expected to be given up may not have anywhere else to go. So they should be encouraged to live where they are and be subject to the government that shall be in place over there when the two states solution is been achieved; after all there are also Palestinians and Arabs living right inside Israel and are members of political setup in there. If it's so inside Israel, it can be same inside the Islamic Arab Emirate of Palestine. It's a global village.

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