Kerry Stresses US-Israel Bond amid Mideast Talks

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Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday if an Israeli-Palestinian agreement doesn't improve Israel's security, there shouldn't be a deal.

Kerry has been pushing hard for an agreement in his seventh trip to the region this year. He and other U.S. leaders are trying to address Israel's anger over a recent deal by the world powers with Iran.

His latest diplomatic whirl took him to Ramallah to visit Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He also met three times in just 36 hours with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pressing hard to advance the talks, while making sure to emphasize American friendship and concern for Israel's security needs.

"The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable," Kerry said. "And while occasionally we might have a difference of tactical measure, we do not have a difference about the fundamental strategy that we both seek in respect to the security of Israel and the long-term peace of this region. And we will continue to work for that."

"I thank my Israeli friends for their embrace and for their patience as we pursue this complicated process," he added.

Netanyahu has repeatedly blasted the deal the United States and other nations made with Iran in Geneva. He has also warned that Israel will not make an agreement with the Palestinians that puts Israeli lives at risk.

The Israeli leader suggested that progress reports with the press aren't helpful.

"What we need is not grand-standing but understanding and agreement, and that requires hard and serious work and actually requires that we do not put before you gentlemen and ladies of the press everything that we are discussing, but to have these real discussions inside, in a sustained effort to bridge historic gaps and provide security," Netanyahu said.

Kerry tried to take a more gracious approach to Israel than on his last visit in early November. Back then he implied Israel was inviting a third intifada if it didn't get back to the talks.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.