Kerry Denies Blaming Israel for Failure in Peace Talks
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) met with US Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday in Washington.
The two used the hour-long meeting to address various issues, including negotiations with Iran, the situation in Syria, and the US-Israel relationship.
Kerry reiterated to Liberman at the meeting that he had not blamed Israel Tuesday for the failure of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, but claimed instead that he merely "described the sequence of events" and the "natural difficulties of discussing such a complex and difficult issue."
Liberman, for his part, noted that Israel is not to blame for the failure of talks - and proof is that it has signed peace treaties with both Egypt and Jordan. The issue, according to Liberman, is the PA.
"The question is whether the Palestinians are also honest and sincere in their desire to reach an agreement, not to play the blame game," Liberman said.
Despite his claims to the contrary, Kerry was widely perceived as blaming Israel for the breakdown of peace talks in comments he made Tuesday night.
"Israel didn't release the Palestinian prisoners on the day they were supposed to be freed, and another day passed, and another day, and then another 700 settlement units were announced in Jerusalem, and 'poof'...that was sort of the moment," he stated, in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is reportedly "deeply disappointed" over the remarks, and an official from his office stated Wednesday that the US "knew full well" who was responsible for talks - and why they folded.
"Mr. Kerry knows very well that it was the Palestinians who refused to engage in direct talks with Israel," the official said. "They are the ones who refused the proposed framework which aims for the formulation of a final agreement, and are also the ones who refused to discuss any recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. They refused also meet with him personally."