Wiretapped: Israel Eavesdropped on John Kerry in Mideast Talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been the victim of eavesdropping by Israeli intelligence. Zoom
AP

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been the victim of eavesdropping by Israeli intelligence.

New information indicates that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on telephone conversations by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Sources told SPIEGEL the government then used the information obtained from the calls during negotiations in the Mideast conflict.

SPIEGEL has learned from reliable sources that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on US Secretary of State John Kerry during Middle East peace negotiations. In addition to the Israelis, at least one other intelligence service also listened in as Kerry mediated last year between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states, several intelligence service sources told SPIEGEL. Revelations of the eavesdropping could further damage already tense relations between the US government and Israel.

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.

Still, there are no doubts about fundamental support for Israel on the part of the United States. On Friday, the US Congress voted to help fund Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system to the tune of $225 million (around €168 million).

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1. Gaza
anthonybellchambers 08/03/2014
Children are 'abducted' from kindergarten but soldiers are 'captured' on the battlefield (if from American, Russian, Japanese, British, German or French professional armies). So, after a huge and obscene diversion about a heavily-armed, Israeli soldier allegedly 'abducted' by Hamas, it is now discovered he was, in fact, killed in action - unlike the 1000 unarmed men, women and children Israel has liquidated in an orgy of atrocity against a civilian population, in Gaza. Nothing highlights the out-of-control conduct of Israel's army and prime minister as accurately as this fiasco that says more about this asymmetrical conflict between a nuclear weapons state and an oppressed people, still under an 8 year economic and military blockade, than any official UN report. Given that there was no capture/ abduction, then the IDF has killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the past 24 hours in a retaliation that was clearly a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Which leaves the question: ‘When will President Obama instruct Binyamin Netanyahu to submit himself to the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, on an indictment of criminal action against a civilian population?’
2. Israeli wire tap
tom.sutlive 08/03/2014
As a proud and responsible US citizen, I am embarrassed by our performance in the world.
3. Gosh there's news
spon-facebook-10000139396 08/03/2014
Gosh! everybody spies on everybody else! Golly! spies actually spy! What will be the next headline? Russia is spying on everybody? That of course is too silly for words; no-one would believe it.
4. Why should
christiansmith 08/03/2014
The basis of all friendship is trust. Unfortunately by their underhand actions the US and Israel prove that they are friends of no-one-not even themselves! That they always remain on proactive in spying can only mean they have high ambitions and want to maintain their dominance in the region or in the world. If the US are truly "friends" why dont they return the gold that rightly belongs to Germany? because they want the world to prop up their worthless currency. With "friends" like these who needs enemies?
5. Intention of this report
tcorp 08/03/2014
Given that the US government always has and continues to support Israel with arms, financially and with vetos and votes at the UN, this reads like something the Americans would put out there in order to distance themselves from the conflict and its casualties as an impartial 3rd party arbiter. How reliable is your source?
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