Secretary of State John Kerry revealed this week that he will skip Israel on his forthcoming visit to the Middle East, a development some have pointed to as a sign that relations between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu-led Israeli government continue to deteriorate.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel Army Radio on Tuesday night (in Hebrew) that Kerry “really has no reason to come here.”
Netanyahu, a fierce critic of the nuclear accord, said that the Iran deal “has nothing to do with us, and has no influence” on Israeli policy, before adding, “We’re not at the table, we are one of the courses on the menu itself.”
Netanyahu was on an official visit to Cyprus on Tuesday, where he spoke about the international terrorist network supplied by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. Netanyahu said that the sophisticated network “covers over 30 countries on five continents, including just about every country in Europe.”
Kerry’s upcoming trip to the Middle East will include a visit to Egypt on Sunday. After, he will go to Qatar to meet with the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-member body of Gulf States that include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain.
In defending his alleged snub to the Jewish state, Kerry said, “I think I’ve had more meetings with an Israeli prime minister and more visits than any secretary of state in history. And I consider Bibi a friend, and we talk still and we disagree on this, obviously, and I’ve told him my feelings.”
State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Kerry has discussed the nuclear deal with the Israelis over the phone, and that their most recent conversation occurred on July 16, shortly after the accord was officially agreed-upon.