US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah, July 23, 2014. (Photo: Issam RImawi/Flash90) US Secretary of State Kerry (R) seen with chief Palestinian negotiator Erekat. (Photo: Issam RImawi/Flash90)

Palestinians expressed warm support for Secretary of State Kerry’s claims that the failure of the Israeli-PA peace process fueled recruitment to Islamic State.

US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel for the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terror group’s expansion and claimed that the lack of an Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace process fuels recruitment to the infamous terror group.

“As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity,” Kerry said at reception in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on Friday.

Kerry was referring to meetings he had held during his visit to Cairo, during which $5.4 billion were raised for Hamas in Gaza.

Kerry called for a two-state solution, which, he seems to believe, would somehow cure all the ailments of the region.

A ‘Boost to Global Terrorism’

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Kerry’s remarks sparked harsh responses from Israeli leaders.

Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) said that “even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian, there will always be someone who blames the Jews….. Asserting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reinforces ISIS gives a boost to global terrorism.”

Kerry has broken the record on misunderstanding the region, Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan (Likud) declared. Speaking on Voice of Israel radio, Erdan said that Kerry’s comments proved he was totally detached from the realities on the ground in the Middle East.

Weak Defense

The State Department responded to the criticism, claiming that Kerry’s words were taken out of context. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf insisted that Kerry “did not make any linkage between Israel and the growth of ISIL, period.” According to Harf, “if we could make progress on Middle East peace, that would help create a more stable region.”

Palestinian Support for Kerry’s Claims

Secretary General of the Council of the PLO Yasser Abed Rabbo. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Secretary General of the Council of the PLO Yasser Abed Rabbo. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo agreed with Kerry’s claims, telling AFP that “linking the fight against terrorism and the end of the Israeli occupation is a strategic position that we support.” He further stated that “those who criticize Kerry want the terrorism of the Islamic State organization to continue to use it as an excuse to obstruct a political solution and end to the occupation.”

The PLO is “ready to work hard with the American administration and all regional leaders to develop mechanisms to implement different levels of the strategic direction announced by Kerry,” he said, without elaborating.

Recently, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator with Israel who is widely considered a moderate, stated that the reason behind Islamic State extremism in the region is the continuation of the “Israeli occupation.”

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel

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