U.S. defends John Kerry from criticism by Israel's defense minister
January 14th, 2014
04:14 PM ET

U.S. defends John Kerry from criticism by Israel's defense minister

By Steve Almasy

U.S. officials reacted angrily to comments attributed to Israel's defense minister criticizing Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians.

The derisive remarks appeared in a popular daily Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, and reflect Moshe Yaalon's skepticism of the Kerry-led U.S. efforts "both in private conversations in Israel and in the U.S."

"American Secretary of State John Kerry, who turned up here determined and acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor, cannot teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians," Yaalon said, according to the paper.

The U.S. State Department fired back Tuesday. Spokeswoman Marie Harf said it was shocking that a close ally would question Kerry's motives.

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Filed under: Israel • Kerry
Kerry to propose framework for Mideast peace deal
January 2nd, 2014
07:37 AM ET

Kerry to propose framework for Mideast peace deal

By Elise Labott

Secretary of State John Kerry will propose a framework for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians when he travels to the region this week.

"During this trip, the secretary will discuss with both leaders the proposed framework for negotiations," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday.

Harf said Kerry's framework would be guidelines for permanent status negotiations and would address all core issues.

Other officials, who briefed reporters before Kerry's ninth trip to the region, spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could be candid about the sensitive peace talks.
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Israel decries U.S. snooping; presses for spy's release
December 23rd, 2013
01:53 PM ET

Israel decries U.S. snooping; presses for spy's release

CNN Justice Reporter Evan Perez

Israeli officials are protesting revelations of National Security Agency snooping on their leaders, while also taking the opportunity to press for the United States to release an Israeli spy.

Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel in the 1980s, is serving a life sentence for espionage; Israel has acknowledged he was an intelligence asset and has pushed for years to have him released.

The NSA allegations surfaced in the New York Times last week based on a leak from former agency contractor Edward Snowden.

After a few days of silence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a political party gathering Monday that he had asked the United States to explain the reports, adding that spying among close allies is unacceptable.

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Filed under: Israel • NSA
After Iran deal, Obama and Kerry pivot to Middle East peace
December 8th, 2013
12:23 AM ET

After Iran deal, Obama and Kerry pivot to Middle East peace

By CNN Political Unit

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry made explicit the administration's renewed attempts to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Palestine Saturday as the United States begins to assume a more muscular role in talks.

At the Brookings Institution's annual Saban Forum on Middle East issues and U.S.-Israeli relations, Obama and Kerry each spoke about a budding interim deal that would work towards a two-state solution.

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Filed under: Israel • Obama • Palestine • Sec. State John Kerry
On Middle East visit, Kerry sees hope of progress for Iran, Israel
December 6th, 2013
08:44 AM ET

On Middle East visit, Kerry sees hope of progress for Iran, Israel

By Elise Labott

The United States and Israel are "absolutely in sync" about the need to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

Talk of Iran's nuclear program took center stage in close to nine hours of talks Thursday and Friday between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kerry met with Netanyahu for the first time since the U.S. and five other world powers reached a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

His talks aimed to convince the Israeli leader to move beyond the "first step" deal and work on a comprehensive agreement that addresses all of Israel's concerns about Iran's program.

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With Mideast peace in mind, Kerry coaxes Israel on Iran
December 5th, 2013
10:13 AM ET

With Mideast peace in mind, Kerry coaxes Israel on Iran

By Elise Labott

Jerusalem (CNN) - John Kerry’s ninth trip to Israel since becoming secretary of state could be among the most difficult.

He needs Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s buy-in for the two issues U.S. President Barack Obama has declared the centerpiece of his second term foreign policy – Iran and Middle East peace.

But at a time when the Israeli leader’s confidence in the United States is shaken over the Iran deal, his trust in the administration as broker of a peace deal with the Palestinians may waver.
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If Israel strikes Iran, Dempsey says U.S. 'would meet' obligations
November 19th, 2013
12:01 AM ET

If Israel strikes Iran, Dempsey says U.S. 'would meet' obligations

By Dan Merica

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Monday that if Israel were to strike Iran in an effort to damage the country's nuclear program, the United States would meet "some defined obligations" it has to the Middle East nation.

"I feel like we have a deep obligation to Israel," the military leader said. "That is why we are in constant contact and collaboration with them."

This fall, diplomats from the United States and other interested countries have met to deal with Iran's nuclear program and ways in which advancements could be halted.

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Filed under: Dempsey • Hagel • Iran • Israel • Kerry • Military
Kerry, Netanyahu discuss Iranian nuclear program in Rome
Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Wednesday.
October 23rd, 2013
10:10 AM ET

Kerry, Netanyahu discuss Iranian nuclear program in Rome

By Jamie Crawford

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will not let up its pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear program despite recent diplomatic overtures between the two countries.

"We will pursue a diplomatic initiative with eyes wide open," Kerry said in Rome during a meeting Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "aware it will be vital for Iran to live up to those standards other nations that have nuclear programs live up to as they prove those programs are indeed peaceful."

Despite a softening of rhetoric on some fronts by the regime in Tehran, there have been fears by other countries in the region that the United States might be too quick to offer incentives to Iran in the latest round of negotiations between Iran and the group known as the P5+1, which includes the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.

Netanyahu, who has said Iran's nuclear program poses an existential threat to Israel, was cautious in his assessment of the current state of play.
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Filed under: Iran • Israel • Sec. State John Kerry
Kerry: U.S. is not being played by Iran
Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.
October 3rd, 2013
08:55 AM ET

Kerry: U.S. is not being played by Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is clear eyed about the recent rhetoric from Iran’s leaders and dismissed the perception from the Israeli government that the U.S. is being duped.

“I didn't interpret Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments as that we are being played somehow, I understood it to be a warning that don’t be played,” Kerry told reporters in Tokyo on Thursday.

At an address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the eyes - the wool over the eyes of the international community,” and was not sincere about negotiating over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

“I can assure the Prime Minister there is nothing here that is going to be taken at face value,” Kerry said. “The president has said and I have said it is not words that will make a difference and the actions are going to have to be sufficient that not only will they not be able to get a weapon, there's no ability to suddenly break out and achieve that.”
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Filed under: Iran • Israel • Sec. State John Kerry
US-Israeli agreement shows co-operation – and some competition – on intel
September 12th, 2013
10:26 AM ET

US-Israeli agreement shows co-operation – and some competition – on intel

By Jim Clancy and Tim Lister

The revelation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) allows Israel to see raw intelligence data it gathers has angered privacy and civil liberties activists, but surprised few security analysts.

The agreement was disclosed by the Guardian newspaper Wednesday, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who has provided the newspaper with reams of classified information.

An undated Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel sets out the ground-rules by which the NSA 'routinely' provides raw intelligence data to the Israelis. It defines raw ‘Sigint’ as including “unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content."

The Memorandum includes provisions designed to protect the privacy of Americans whose data might be shared with the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU). It opens with a preamble that the sharing of information must be “consistent with the requirements placed upon NSA by US law and Executive Order to establish safeguards protecting the rights of US persons under the Fourth Amendment” of the US Constitution guaranteeing individual privacy.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Intelligence • Israel • NSA
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