Kerry-Netanyahu call abruptly terminated
Prime minister, secretary of state spoke on Sunday, but the conversation was ended due to 'communications issue' according to State Department; Kerry not planning to attend Cairo talks.
In light of discussions in American media outlets of a "historic low" in US-Israel relations, it was reported that a call between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State was disconnected on Sunday.
According to the State Department, the call was disconnected due to a "communications issue" – but the two have not made contact since and Kerry has not made plans to attend the talks in Cairo.
"Their phone call was cut off," said State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki on Tuesday. But a journalist at the press conference pressed the spokesperson, asking if Netanyahu hung up the phone on Kerry.
"Sometimes calls get cut off. You -- it was a brief call, is what I’m trying to convey," Psaki responded. But the State Department spokesperson deflected when the journalist again asked if one side had slammed the phone on the other.
"There was nothing – there was nothing that interesting about it, no. That was not the case. That was not the case," she replied.
On Tuesday, Kerry spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with the UN envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry, and with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri regarding the ceasefire in Gaza.
Psaki said that the US administration had yet to decide who would be sent as its representative to the Cairo talks.
In Kerry's defense, Psaki said he made over 100 calls in an attempt to reach a ceasefire, visited the region, and that President Barack Obama spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu three times.
Psaki said the US opposed the unilateral Palestinian moves at the International Criminal Court at the Hague, and noted that this was not the first time the issue has surfaced but that the focus must remain on reaching a stable ceasefire.
The US has said that the talks should deliberate measures to improve the security situation in Israel and offering economic opportunities to the Palestinians.