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Netanyahu, Kerry talk after public criticism

JTA

February 3, 2014 | 11:38 am

Secretary of State John Kerry at Berlin Tegel Airport on Jan. 31. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry at Berlin Tegel Airport on Jan. 31. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Reuters

Benjamin Netanyahu and John Kerry discussed the developing framework agreement hours after the Israeli prime minister accused the U.S. secretary of state of promoting a boycott in a speech.

Citing unnamed senior U.S. officials, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said their telephone conversation on Sunday night dealt mostly with the proposal that Kerry is expected to introduce in the coming weeks to the mostly stalled U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Earlier in the day, Kerry met with Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister and chief peace negotiator, and negotiator Isaac Molho.

Netanyahu and other Israeli government officials rapped Kerry for warning that Israel would face more international boycotts if the peace process fails during an address to the Munich Security Conference.

Netanyahu called boycotts “immoral and unjust.” He also said boycotts push the peace process further away by causing the Palestinians “to adhere to their intransigent positions,” and that “no pressure will cause me to concede the vital interests of the State of Israel, especially the security of Israel’s citizens.”

The U.S. State Department responded to the criticism of Kerry.

“Secretary Kerry has a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel’s security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement on Sunday. “Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.”

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