The White House on Monday defended Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryWhat’s Russia’s real power? The power of the purse Can Ivanka Trump and Al Gore unite against climate change? Senate: Act now to save Ukraine MORE, after charges in Israeli media that he was “capitulating” to Hamas in talks to broker a cease-fire in the Mideast.
"Israel has no better friend, no stronger defender” than Kerry, deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said at the White House.
He added that “no one has done more” for lasting peace.
Reports over the weekend, including one from The Times of Israel, quoted anonymous Israeli sources accusing Kerry of giving into Hamas’s demands.
Israel rejected a draft cease-fire proposal that was reportedly in the works on Friday as Kerry worked to negotiate a deal in Cairo, Egypt.
Blinken explained the leaked proposal was not sponsored by the U.S., but instead was a “discussion paper based on... [an] original Egyptian initiative” unveiled in mid-July.
Israel had agreed to that original Egyptian cease-fire proposal earlier this month but Hamas rejected the offer, leading to more violence.
The United Nations Security Council late Sunday approved a resolution urging a humanitarian cease-fire, but Hamas fired rockets into Israel on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said Monday that his country is prepared for a prolonged operation to destroy Hamas-built tunnels from Gaza into Israel.