Kerry Defends Peace Efforts: I'm Committed, Not Obsessive

In interview with Israeli TV program 'Uvda' to air Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State talks peace, settlements, and discovering his Jewish roots.

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Haaretz
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he does not does not intend to give up hope of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, despite the differences between the sides and the personal attacks he has come under recently.

"People who know me know that when I sink my teeth into something, if I get the bit between my teeth, I try to get it done," the top American diplomat told Israeli newswoman Ilana Dayan, in an interview to be broadcast on Thursday on the news program "Uvda."

Kerry also implied that evacuating Jewish settlements may not be a necessary part of a peace deal. "I'm not sure [the settler] will have to leave his home," he said when asked about the price settlers may have to pay if an agreement is struck.

In the interview, the secretary of state recounts how he first learned of his family's Jewish roots. "It’s a connection that is deep," he said, "I lost a great-uncle in the Holocaust and a great-aunt. I never knew that until then." He said he discovered this "biological and personal" connection years after passionately embracing the sense of "never again," and that that has brought him even closer to the Jewish story.

When confronted with recent criticism of his efforts, namely by Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who branded him "obsessive," Kerry said: "Those are judgments that other people may or may not have fun making in this process. I'm doing my job."

"So when people say that you're obsessive, you're not insulted?" pressed Dayan.

"No, I think I'm committed," Kerry replied. "And I'm determined."

John Kerry and Ilana Dayan.Credit: Courtesy of 'Uvda.'

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