Kerry: Netanyahu raised idea of ceasefire
US Secretary of State deflects criticism of his actions by Israeli officials, says prime minister had called him about negotiating temporary truce.
WASHINGTON – After the US administration pushed back Monday against Israeli officials for launching "a misinformation campaign" against Secretary of State John Kerry, the top American diplomat revealed Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called him to raise the idea of a ceasefire.
"The prime minister talked to me about the idea of a ceasefire. He raised it with me. Netanyahu has consistently said that he would embrace a ceasefire that permits Israel to protect itself against the tunnels."
Speaking at a press conference in Washington, Kerry emphasized his long-time support for the State of Israel and that his dedication was clear. "I spent 29 years in the Senate and have a 100% voting record in favor of Israel."
Kerry deflected the criticism he faced from Israeli officials. "This is not about me: it's about Israel and Israel's right to defend itself, and our strong support for Israel's right to defend itself."
The top American diplomat attempted to reassure his Israeli critics. "We are working very carefully with our Israeli friends in order to be able to find a way to reduce the civilian loss of life, to prevent this from spiraling downwards, into a place from which both sides have difficulty having a way forward."
Kerry continued to stress the strong US backing for Israel and the operation. "Nobody condones the idea that Israel ought to be subject to attacks from these tunnels. We have supported from day one Israel's right to defend itself, Israel's right to take actions, Israel's right to live free from rockets and tunnels that threaten it."