Kerry warns of boycott against Israel if peace deal not reached
By REUTERS,LAHAV HARKOV01/02/2014
US Secretary of State John Kerry believes Israel could face an economic boycott if the current round of peace negotiations with the Palestinians does not lead to a final deal. Kerry made the remarks on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.
"There's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things, Kerry said, referring to the possible failure of the talks.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) reacted strongly to Kerry's remarks.
"No nation has ever given up its land because of economic threats and we won't either," Bennett said.
"Only security will bring economic stability, not a terror state near Ben Gurion Airport," he added. "We expect our friends in the world to stand by us during attempts at an anti-Semitic boycott of Israel, instead of being their megaphone."
"Either way, we knew in the past and know today how to stand strong," Bennett warned.
Deputy Defense Minister, Danny Danon (Likud-Beytenu), also criticized Kerry's boycott related remarks on Saturday.
"We respect the [US] secretary of state but we will not negotiate with a gun put to our head," Danon said.
Danon called Kerry's words an "ultimatum", and said that true friends do not set ultimatums.
"We will make decisions that protect Israel's interests," Danon added, "If we had made decisions according to every boycott threat, we would not be here today."
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ofir Akunis (Likud Beytenu) echoed Bennett and Danon's criticism. "We were here before him [Kerry] and we'll be here after him."
"Kerry is using an aggressive policy against Israel, which is not bringing peace any closer," Akunis added.
On the other side of the political spectrum, MK Nachman Shai (Labor) agreed with Kerry's boycott fears and said Israel is facing an "economic tsunami" and that boycotts have "passed the point of no return."
"Together with other sanctions, the international community is starting a joint battle to pressure Israel," Shai stated. "Our nightmare is coming true and the government refuses to understand that things will never be the same."
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On also in line with Kerry's boycott fear called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stop settlement construction in the West Bank.
"Continuing the occupation and settlements are not acceptable anymore not just to European countries but to banks and private companies," Gal-On stated. "Their decisions can turn Israel into an outcast country, isolated like Cuba and South Africa."
"The prime minister needs to wake up, because the world is losing patience and the threat of boycotts on Israel grows from day to day," Gal-On added.
Along with his boycott warning Kerry remained hopeful that the Obama administration's effort to broker a peace deal between could succeed.
"I'm not going to sit here and give you a measure of optimism, but I will give you a full measure of commitment," Kerry said.
The United States hopes to complete a "framework" accord in coming weeks and will then try to negotiate a final peace deal by the end of 2014, a US official said this week, according to a participant in a briefing with American Jewish leaders.
"I am hopeful and we will keep working on it," Kerry, who despite widespread skepticism is leading the US effort to push the two sides toward a deal, said during remarks at the Munich security conference.
"I believe in the possibility or I wouldn't pursue this," he said. "I don't think we're being quixotic ... We're working hard because the consequences of failure are unacceptable."
US envoy Martin Indyk said the framework would address core issues in the conflict, including borders, security, refugees and Jewish settlements, a participant in the briefing said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition, which includes pro-settler parties, has already shown signs of strain over talks on Palestinian statehood.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Kerry Threatens Israel, Again
Why not threaten the "palestinians" with boycotts if they don't stop terrorism and incitement? John Kerry is reprehensible. But then again, is this a surprise coming from a man who betrayed his own country and fellow soldiers during Vietnam?