U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks to his plane after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. Netanyahu, before meeting with Kerry, said Friday that he “utterly rejects” the emerging nuclear deal between western powers and Iran, calling it a “bad deal” and promising that Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)
JERUSALEM (AP) — A pair of testy public exchanges this week appear to have undone whatever good will was created between the Israeli and U.S. governments during a high-profile visit by President Barack Obama early this year.
Tensions burst into the open during a swing through the region by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In an interview broadcast on both Israeli and Palestinian TV, Kerry questioned Israel’s seriousness about peace with the Palestinians. Hours later Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back, vowing not to cave into concessions to the Palestinians — and also saying he “utterly rejects” an emerging nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.
The rancor signals a tough road ahead for the twin American goals of finding a diplomatic solution for Iran’s nuclear program and forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And it raises the specter of a return to the uncomfortable relationship that has often characterized dealings between Obama and Netanyahu.
Israeli news reports describe Netanyahu as being in “shock” over the possible Iranian compromise. Netanyahu, who sees Iran as an arch-enemy, has vowed to do anything, including a military strike, to prevent Iran from reaching weapons capability.
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