Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Middle East: 'Israel risks losing support from its main ally'

Another spat seems to be brewing between the US Secretary of State and the Israeli government. It all started after John Kerry expressed his concern over the lack of progress at peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Mr Kerry, who has been holding back-and-forth talks with both sides, said over the weekend that the status quo being maintained by Israel is NOT sustainable. He also warned that many countries could seek to boycott Tel Aviv if peace negotiations fail. This triggered an angry response.. with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that any efforts to boycott Israel would be unjustified and counterproductive.

Israel's Strategic Affairs minister then weighed in, saying Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a gun to its head. And the Economy minister went a step further, calling on Israel's allies to stand up against those who try to pursue Anti-Semitic agendas against his country. There's been a public backlash too, with some two thousand Israelis gathering outside the Western Wall in Jerusalem last week, for a "prayer rally" against U.S. efforts to broker an agreement. The two sides resumed peace talks last July. A deadline has been set for April, with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem remaining the key sticking point. Let's bring in Amir Oren - he's a senior correspondent and columnist for Haaretz newspaper.