President Obama went to bat for his secretary of state on Friday, defending John Kerry from “unfair criticism” over the failed cease-fire negotiations between Israel and Hamas.
“Let me take this opportunity, by the way, to give Secretary John Kerry credit. He has been persistent. He has worked very hard. He has endured on many occasions really unfair criticism simply to try to get to the point where the killing stops and the underlying issues about Israel’s security, but also the concerns of Palestinians in Gaza, can be addressed,” Obama said during an afternoon news conference.
Obama said his administration would “keep working towards that,” but acknowledged that it’s going to be “very hard to put a cease-fire back together again if Israelis and the international community can’t feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a cease-fire commitment.”
The most recent bid for a cease-fire crumbled on Friday following the capture of an Israeli soldier.
Kerry, meanwhile, has faced withering criticism not just from Republicans at home, but in Israeli media as well.