Israel characterizes its offensive as a “pinpoint operation,” a claim that has apparently left Kerry skeptical.
“It's a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Kerry said, unaware that his was being recorded. “It's a hell of a pinpoint operation … We've got to get over there. Thank you, John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it's crazy to be sitting around.”
The remark, which Fox News' Chris Wallace characterized as an “extraordinary moment of diplomacy” in reference to the escalation of violence in the Gaza region, came as Kerry appeared on multiple Sunday news programs. The remark was also directed at one of Kerry's aides.
Kerry left for Cairo on Monday to try to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Wallace questioned Kerry over whether the remark revealed the secretary thinks Israel has gone too far in its operation against Hamas.
“I think it's very, very difficult in these situations, obviously very difficult, Chris,” Kerry said. “You have people who've come out of tunnels. You have a right to go in and take out those tunnels. We completely support that, and we support Israel's right to defend itself against rockets that are continuing to come in. Hamas has started this process of rocketing … It's disgraceful. It's tough to have this kind of operation.”
Kerry has been in the business of talking to people and looking into cameras for more than 40 years, first launching his political career in the early 1970s.
At what point does a professional politician learn that all microphones are potentially hot and that television studios are not the best place to make off-the-cuff remarks about a U.S. ally?