Kerry shrugs off Israeli criticism

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Kerry shrugs off Israeli criticism
Secretary of State John Kerry, speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, during a news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. The United States says there's been "no shred of evidence" that Russia is willing to help end the violence and bloodshed between the Ukraine separatists backed by Moscow and the government in Kiev. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin arrive to speak to reporters at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. The United States says there's been "no shred of evidence" that Russia is willing to help end the violence and bloodshed between the Ukraine separatists backed by Moscow and the government in Kiev. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Secretary of State John Kerry, right, looks to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin as he speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. The United States says there's been "no shred of evidence" that Russia is willing to help end the violence and bloodshed between the Ukraine separatists backed by Moscow and the government in Kiev. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, during a news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. The United States says there's been "no shred of evidence" that Russia is willing to help end the violence and bloodshed between the Ukraine separatists backed by Moscow and the government in Kiev. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Secretary of State John Kerry, speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, during a news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. The United States says there's been "no shred of evidence" that Russia is willing to help end the violence and bloodshed between the Ukraine separatists backed by Moscow and the government in Kiev. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks while releasing the 2013 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom July 28, 2014, at the US State Department in Washington, DC. Kerry on Monday said that international efforts to agree a truce between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza must lead to the disarmament of Hamas. Kerry told reporters he was continuing to work 'toward establishing an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire.' But he added: 'We also believe that any process to resolved the crisis in Gaza in a lasting and meaningful way must lead to the disarmament of Hamas and all terrorist groups.'AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry steps off his plane as it arrives in Paris, France, Saturday, July 26, 2014. Kerry will continue meetings regarding a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry boards his plane in Paris, as he returns to Washington, Saturday, July 26, 2014, following efforts to reach a longer truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, right, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu walk down a staircase as they continue their conversation regarding a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, Saturday, July 26, 2014, at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Paris, France. With a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza Saturday, Kerry is continuing with efforts to reach a longer truce between Israel and Hamas. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center, speaks with Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, right, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu before they make statements to reporters during their meeting regarding a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, Saturday, July 26, 2014, at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris, France. With a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza Saturday, Kerry is continuing with efforts to reach a longer truce between Israel and Hamas. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier prior to a meeting with French Foreign Ministry Laurent Fabius and foreign affairs ministers to press for a cease-fire in Gaza, at Quai d'Orsay, in Paris, France, Saturday, July 26, 2014 . French Foreign Ministry Laurent Fabius invited counterparts from U.S. Britain, Germany, Italy, the European Union, Turkey and Qatar for a cease-fire meeting as hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of people in Israel have died in the Gaza war.(AP Photo/Francois Mori )
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Paris, France, Saturday, July 26, 2014. With a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza Saturday, Kerry is continuing with efforts to reach a longer truce between Israel and Hamas. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)
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By Matthew Lee

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday widespread criticism of his efforts to win a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas don't worry him and said he will continue to work toward that goal because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked him to.

"I have taken hits before in politics, I am not worried about it," he told reporters at the State Department. "This is not about me."

Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism


Kerry said he is convinced that a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza followed by negotiations to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict is "more appropriate" than continuing to wage war.

"I am not going to worry about personal attacks," he said, adding that he and President Barack Obama are convinced "it is more appropriate to try to resolve the underlying issues at a negotiating table than to continue a tit-for-tat of violence that will invite more violence and perhaps a greater downward spiral which would be much more difficult to recover from."

Kerry has come under harsh criticism in Israel and among its supporters for pushing a cease-fire last week that critics believe will hurt the security of the Jewish state and give legitimacy to the militant Hamas movement that controls Gaza. On Monday, several senior Obama administration officials hit back at the criticism and defended Kerry's efforts as those of a true friend to Israel.

Though he said he wasn't "worried" by the criticism, Kerry showed flashes of pique in his comments, noting at one point that he had a 100-percent pro-Israel voting record in the Senate and would not "take a second seat to anybody" in his devotion to Israel's security.

Kerry also said he wouldn't be pushing for a ceasefire if Netanyahu hadn't asked him to.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu himself said to me, 'Can you try to get a humanitarian cease-fire for this period of time?' And if it weren't for his commitment to it, obviously the president of the United States and I would not be trying to make this effort," Kerry said.

"Now either I take his commitment at face value or someone is playing a different game here, and I hope that's not the fact," he said.
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