When it comes to diplomacy, John Kerry may have rapidly become the biggest laughing joke in US State Department history, but that doesn't mean his exchanges weren't valuable to others. Others such as Israel, whose relations with the US have gone from worse to atrocious in recent months, and which as Spiegel just revealed, had eavesdropped on John Kerry on at least one occasion, during Mid-East peace negotiations. Israel would then use the information obtained from the calls during its own negotiations in the Mideast conflict.
Further, Spiegel reports that at least one other intelligence service also listened in as Kerry mediated last year between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states. The German publications adds wryly that "revelations of the eavesdropping could further damage already tense relations between the US government and Israel" although with Netanyahu openly refusing Obama's demands about a Gaza ceasefire, one wonders just how much worse things between the two "allies" could get.
During the peak stage of peace talks last year, Kerry spoke regularly with high-ranking negotiating partners in the Middle East. At the time, some of these calls were not made on encrypted equipment, but instead on normal telephones, with the conversations transmitted by satellite. Intelligence agencies intercepted some of those calls. The government in Jerusalem then used the information obtained in international negotiations aiming to reach a diplomatic solution in the Middle East.
In the current Gaza conflict, the Israelis have massively criticized Kerry, with a few ministers indirectly calling on him to withdraw from peace talks. Both the US State Department and the Israeli authorities declined to comment.
Only one week ago, Kerry flew to Israel to mediate between the conflict parties, but the Israelis brusquely rejected a draft proposal for a cease-fire. The plan reportedly didn't include any language demanding that Hamas abandon its rocket arsenal and destroy its tunnel system. Last year, Kerry undertook intensive diplomatic efforts to seek a solution in the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but they ultimately failed. Since those talks, relations between Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been tense.
Of course, Israel was merely taking advantage of State Department stupidity in communicating on an unsecured line: it certainly wasn't the first or last time. Recall that it was in February when Russia leaked the infamous "Fuck the EU" phone conversation, in which Victoria Nuland made very clear that the puppetmaster behind the Ukraine regime change was none other than the US. In other words, Israel spied on the US: perfectly normal behavior by a country which knows that its one-time BFF is starting to pull away and support Iran of all countries. However, it doesn't explain the following recent revelation: New Snowden Document Implies NSA May Be Putting Israel's Security Ahead of America's.
It also doesn't explain headlines such as this one: "U.S. Congress approves $225 million for Israeli 'Iron Dome' system."
Or perhaps until such time as the American people wake up and finally demand a Congress that is accountable to the people of the US and not to banker, corporate and/or foreign lobbies, it explains just about everything.