Israeli's security interests are a top priority when considering a plan for lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
In an interview broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 TV on Thursday, Kerry said he was committed to achieving his task to the fullest. "Israel's security interests are top of my priorities and one of the most important issues for the United States."
Israeli media praised Kerry's remarks and described them as important.
Kerry brushed aside criticism from senior Israeli officials including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon who called Kerry an "obsessed Christian" saying "I do not want to squabble like children. I want to focus on the important issues. People who know me know that when I focus on something I do all I can to achieve it."
Kerry said he was optimistic about solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict although he had been warned that it might be an impossible or a complicated task.
The mutual accusations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides on the seriousness of each party in the peace process encourage him to intensify his efforts to push the talks forward, he explained.
"I want to help the Palestinians and Israelis reach peace, security and a safe future without conflict."
Israel and the Palestinians resumed their talks in July under US auspices following three years of impasse and hope to come to a final peace agreement within nine months.