Diplomat: Criticism of Kerry not from Netanyahu

WASHINGTON (AP) — Israel's ambassador to the United States is asserting that criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry's peace-making efforts is traceable to Israel's "very rambunctious democracy," and not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ambassador Ron Dermer says Netanyahu appreciates Kerry's efforts to bring about a cease-fire in the Gaza war. He adds, quote, "This is not coming from the prime minister."

Kerry himself brushed off the criticism Monday, saying Netanyahu had asked him if he could arrange a cease-fire. The secretary said he wouldn't have pushed so aggressively for a cease-fire if Netanyahu hadn't asked him to.

Appearing Wednesday on MSNBC, Dermer said the vast majority of Israeli people "are against a cease-fire." The ambassador added, in his words, "This is the Israeli press that is speaking. We are a free country."

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