After Kerry’s 3rd intifada comment,
Shapiro says violence never acceptable
by Herb Keinon
Nov. 11, 2013
US, Israel have “as close a relationship” as anyone, envoy says.
Violence is completely unacceptable regardless of the outcome of the current round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said Monday.
Shapiro’s comments at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly came five days after US Secretary of State John Kerry raised eyebrows in a television interview by warning of a third intifada if the talks break down.
Kerry said in the interview last Thursday that the alternative to “getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos,” and then asked, “I mean, does Israel want a third intifada?” Shapiro, asked about these comments at a session moderated by Jerusalem Post editor- in-chief Steve Linde, said “there is never any suggestion or countenance of legitimizing the use of violence.”
Kerry’s message to both sides of the conflict, Shapiro said, is that as difficult as the conflict is and has been, it is not going to get easier over time as the populations become more intertwined, and there will be greater disillusionment on both sides with the idea of two states.
“Both sides have something to lose if these negotiations don’t go forward,” Shapiro said. “No, we are not planning for a failure of the negotiations; we are obviously trying to ensure the success of the negotiations. It goes without saying that violence is completely unacceptable – before, during or after negotiations – regardless of the success or failure of the negotiations. We have maintained that always.”
The ambassador said that not only was violence unacceptable in trying to push forward a political goal, but that “Israel has the right to defend itself when such violence occurs.”
Asked whether Kerry’s comments, coupled with the current dust-up over Iran, has not eroded the goodwill among the Israeli public that US President Barack Obama won when he visited in March, Shapiro said that “the truth is that the United States and Israel have as close a relationship as any two countries on earth.
“That is a good thing,” he said. “That is the way it should be; that is the way it will be – it will remain that way.”
At the same time, Shapiro added, that did not mean that the countries would agree on every issue, and that there would not be disagreements.
Though the US and Israel have largely overlapping interests, these interests – because of different size and location – are not identical, he said.
Shapiro said that while both on the Iranian and Palestinian issues, “along the way we will have difficult conversations,” those conversations will never come close to “shaking the foundations of this relationship.”