John Bolton: US Wrong to Pressure Israel on Talks With Hamas

Friday, 11 Jul 2014 01:47 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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It's wrong for the United States to pressure Israel to negotiate a cease-fire with militant Islamist group Hamas because it would actually have the opposite effect of its intent, said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"It's not really an offer. It's an implicit exercise in pressure against Israel not to take really significant steps against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, or now, in Lebanon, against [Shiite Muslim organization] Hezbollah," Bolton told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Friday.

President Barack Obama on Thursday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and offered to help negotiate a cease-fire in its conflict with the Palestinians, reported Fox News. Israel has traded rocket fire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip in recent days as tensions with the Palestinians escalated.

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Bolton said the move was "part and parcel of the Obama administration's strategy" to prevent Israel from doing something "that could result in a more secure environment in Israel."

"I think it's unfortunate. It sounds like a good thing [but] it's going to have the opposite effect," he said.

Hamas' and Hezbollah's rockets, which had the capability "of completely blanketing every civilian target in Israel," were likely supplied "either directly by Iran or indirectly through Syria," Bolton said.

"They've got Israel covered on both sides, so that an increase in rockets fired out of Lebanon, combined with what's going on in Gaza, is meant to, and clearly does, put a lot of strain on Israel, on its civilian population, and on its political leadership," Bolton said.

Bolton said Iran is sending a message to Israel that "if you attack our nuclear weapons program, you can count on this as a response."

It was a "very clear signal to Israel to stay away from Iran," Bolton said.


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