Steinitz: Kerry Comments Harmed, Not Helped, Talks

Intelligence Minister blasts 'unfortunate' link US made between peace talks and ISIS, in latest condemnation of Kerry's faux pas.

Tova Dvorin,

Minister Yuval Steinitz
Minister Yuval Steinitz
Flash 90

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz condemned the connection US Secretary of State John Kerry made between Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the Islamic State (ISIS) last Friday, telling Kol Yisrael radio on Monday it strengthened the political deadlock in the region and harmed, not helped, ease tensions. 

Kerry's phrasing was "unfortunate," Steinitz noted in his criticism, and was "happy that the US retracted its words." 

Steinitz is the latest to criticize Kerry's comments last week, after the Secretary claimed that "peace talks" - not US incompetence to prevent radicalization - led to the rise of jihadism in the Middle East. 

"It is imperative that we find a way to get back to the negotiations," Kerry said. He then moved on to a separate commentary on ISIS, before juxtaposing the extremist group with peace talks.

"There wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he said - referring to the Cairo conference which eventually saw $5.4 billion raised for Hamas - "because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation." 

"People need to understand the connection of that," he continued. "And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity." 

The US State Department has vigorously denied that Kerry meant to link the two.