WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday widespread criticism of his efforts to win a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas don't worry him and said he will continue to work toward that goal because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked him to.
"I have taken hits before in politics, I am not worried about it," he told reporters at the State Department. "This is not about me."
Kerry said he is convinced that a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza followed by negotiations to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict is "more appropriate" than continuing to wage war.
"I am not going to worry about personal attacks," he said, adding that he and President Barack Obama are convinced "it is more appropriate to try to resolve the underlying issues at a negotiating table than to continue a tit-for-tat of violence that will invite more violence and perhaps a greater downward spiral which would be much more difficult to recover from."
Kerry has come under harsh criticism in Israel and among its supporters for pushing a cease-fire last week that critics believe will hurt the security of the Jewish state and give legitimacy to the militant Hamas movement that controls Gaza. On Monday, several senior Obama administration officials hit back at the criticism and defended Kerry's efforts as those of a true friend to Israel.
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