Wendy Sherman, a deputy minister of US Secretary of State John Kerry, has arrived in Israel today (Sunday) to update officials on ongoing talks with Iran, Walla reports. Sherman, who is technically the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and reports directly to Kerry, will be responsible for keeping a US connection to Israel in Kerry's absence.
Walla speculates that Sherman's unofficial duty is to keep Jerusalem calm in the wake of heightened tensions between the two countries, which have escalated considerably since Kerry made a number of inflammatory comments during peace talks last week. Among them, he reportedly not only threatened a third intifada, but also claimed that the US stance on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria is a condemnatory one, calling Jewish communities in the region "illegitimate."
Tensions escalated further after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's warnings that Iran was making a 'bad deal' with the international community fell on deaf ears Friday, before Kerry headed to Geneva to discuss a diplomatic solution with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and EU representative Catherine Ashton.
Sherman is reportedly not scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister during her visit. Sherman has been heavily involved in negotiations with Iran, and met with her Iranian counterpart in Geneva to discuss the options just last month.