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US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Yerushalayim on Thursday morning, 2 Teves 5774. As is customary, the senior US official reassured the prime minister that Israel’s security remains paramount for the US administration and Israel’s security interests would not be compromised in ongoing negotiations with Iran.
“I can’t emphasize enough that Israel’s security in this negotiation is at the top of our agenda,” Kerry told reporters following the meeting.
The reassurances from the Obama administration do not seem to be allaying the fears of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who feels the deal with Iran at this critical juncture is not to the advantage of Western nations who are seeking to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear bomb.
On the PA (Palestinian Authority) front, Kerry desperately wants to push Israel and the PA to an agreement and this includes additional concessions and land withdrawals to the PA. Sadly, even if PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is genuine, which many may posit he is not, he does not represent the 1.5 million residents of Gaza, under a Hamas regime, with the latter rejecting the Fatah government in Ramallah.
During his latest round of shuttle diplomacy, Kerry also meets with Abu Mazen in Ramallah, seeking to give a boost to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s efforts in the talks amid reports the sides are deadlocked.
Excerpt from PM Netanyahu’s Remarks after his Meeting with Kerry in Jerusalem
“Our discussion this morning focused on two central issues. First and foremost, we discussed the danger to the world posed by Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. We believe that, in a final deal, unlike the interim deal, it is crucial to bring about a final agreement about the termination of Iran’s military nuclear capability. I have expressed my concern since Geneva that the sanctions would begin to unravel, and I think steps must be taken to prevent further erosions of sanctions.
Now, on the Palestinian issue, I want to say that Israel is ready for a historic peace, and it’s a peace based on two states for two peoples. It’s a peace that Israel can and must be able to defend by itself with our own forces against any foreseeable threat. We don’t need artificial crises. What we need is not grandstanding, but understanding and agreements and that requires hard and serious hard work. I’m fully committed and Israel is fully committed to such an effort and I hope the Palestinians are committed to this goal as well.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)