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Netanyahu lauds Kerry nomination for US secretary of state job
Published Saturday 22/12/2012 (updated) 23/12/2012 19:50
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday welcomed the appointment of his personal friend John Kerry as US secretary of state and described him as "a known supporter of Israel's security".

President Barack Obama nominated Kerry on Friday, calling the veteran US senator the "perfect choice" as America's top diplomat.

Netanyahu said in a statement: "I congratulate John Kerry on being chosen for the position of US Secretary of State. Kerry is very experienced and is a known supporter of Israel's security."

But Netanyahu may find Kerry no less critical than his predecessor of Israel's policy of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, an area Palestinians want as part of a future state.

"When new settlements go up ... it undermines the viability of a two-state solution," Kerry told a Senate hearing.

Kerry will be the leading Cabinet member charged with tackling pressing global challenges, including trying to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and Iran's nuclear standoff with the West.

Netanyahu, who has had frosty ties with Obama, also mentioned his good personal relations with Kerry in his statement.

"John Kerry and I are friends for many years and I greatly appreciated the fact that half a year ago, after the death of my father, he came to visit me during my mourning. I look forward to cooperating with him," he added.

While Obama put one important piece of his revamped cabinet in place, he held off on naming a new defense secretary.

The delay came in the face of a growing backlash from critics of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who is considered a leading candidate to replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

Officials in Netanyahu's office have privately voiced concern over the possibility that Hagel might take over at the Pentagon.

Some American Jewish leaders contend that Hagel, who left the Senate in 2008, at times opposed Israel's interests, voting several times against US sanctions on Iran, and made disparaging remarks about the influence of a Jewish lobby in Washington.

Asked last week about a statement by Hagel in 2006 that the "Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people here," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he would "have to answer for that comment" if he is nominated.

"And he'll have to answer about why he thought it was a good idea to directly negotiate with Hamas and why he objected to the European Union declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization," said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
22/12/2012 21:40

2 ) Robert / US
22/12/2012 22:33
Chuck Hagel is a Great man who knows that seeking Real Deplomicy is Key for "American Security" !!!. He has to anwser to nobody .. Good luck Sir. The US needs people like this. Not twoheaded snakes

3 ) betz55 / USA
23/12/2012 00:04
Uh-oh, if Nothinghayhoo likes Kerry then that means he is an AIPAC endorsed Israel firster, not a good sign or beginning. Let's hope Kerry see through Nothingyahoo.

4 ) ian / australia
23/12/2012 01:24
"Asked...about a statement by Hagel...that the "Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people here," Sen. Lindsey Graham...said he would "have to answer for that comment" if he is nominated." Proving Hagel is right and that the Jewish lobby DOES intimidate a lot of people here! "Some American Jewish leaders contend that Hagel...at times opposed Israel's interests" Shock. Horror. The narcisism rises to Heaven. Why shouldn't he oppose "Israel's interests" when they're not US interests? Hagel has said

5 ) ian / australia
23/12/2012 01:25
(contd.) a lot of good stuff: "I took an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States. Not to a president. Not to a party. Not to Israel" and "I'm a United States senator, not an Israeli senator". It's gonna be interesting.

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
23/12/2012 01:52
"...Asked last week about a statement by Hagel in 2006 that the "Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people here," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he would "have to answer for that comment" if he is nominated...." ...thus proving the validity of the accusation.

7 ) Robert / US
23/12/2012 04:14
Ori post my comment..

8 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
23/12/2012 09:09
More and more Israelis are saying publicly that it is a good idea to negociate with Hamas face to face. Switzerland and Norway recognise the legitimacy of the government of Hamas, elected in a fair vote in 2006. Calling names and isolating this government only serves to distance it from reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, which is the fervant wish of many Israelis and Palestinians. It is, after all, their business, not that of Americans.

9 ) CARLOS / usa
23/12/2012 16:19
I hope Kerry starts pursuing US interests instead of israels. I like Chuck Hagel. End sanctions on Iran. Sanction israel for settlements. I am boycotting israeli products. I made sure the computer I bought had no intel processors in it. I bought a computer with quad AMD processors which are not made in israel. I was pleasantly surprised to see there are not intel processors in tablet computers.

10 ) Mel / USA
23/12/2012 20:42
What's "good" for Bibi & ZIONISM is suidical for Israel.Kerry is a malleable,myopic pro-Zionist-vote eunuch,who doesn't care about securing the SAFETY of Jews/Israel as a PLURALISTIC state,instead of the increasingly theocratic US(Ziostan)FOB it's been since 1947-48-67 etc.
US imperialism is collapsing! Anyone who's blindly&stupidly pro-Zionist is BAD for Israel's long-term NatSec.Hagel would've been LEGITIMATELY tough on Israel/Zionism,but BETTER for Israeli Jews,long-term,when Zionism's GONE!

11 ) aeskylos / usa
24/12/2012 12:16
Gee, if Netenyahu gives his approval to Kerry I feel safe I guess.

12 ) JoeFattal / USA
25/12/2012 20:22
So when Kerry go to Israel it will be for a vacation like any Secretary of State we had before.

13 ) lydia / Brisbane
25/12/2012 22:49
Netanyahu's approval should immediately void Kerry's nomination. He is after all US Sec. of State NOT Israel Sec. of Sate. Likewise Chuck Nagel's appointment as Def.Sec.because he is obviously pro America, should have naught to do with Israel. It's ludicrous that Nagel or any US appointment should depend on the approval of Jewish lobby, whose role is first and foremost in the interest of Israel not the US. The Jewish lobby should have long been banned for it's un-American activities
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