Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly considering diplomat Robert Malley, who was dismissed from President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign when it was revealed that he met with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, for the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Malley has a history of making controversial statements on Israel.
It is unclear if Malley, formerly a Middle East advisor for President Bill Clinton and currently Middle East director of the International Crisis Group, would focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if appointed by Kerry, Al-Monitor reported.
Regarding the fact that he met with Hamas, Malley told The Times of London in 2008, “I’ve never hidden the fact that in my job with the International Crisis Group I meet all kinds of people.”
Malley has criticized Israel regarding its 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“A war Israel fought without a clearly defined purpose has left the country without any tangible achievement,” Malley wrote for The New York Review of Books.
Also in 2006, Malley told the Common Ground News Service that Hamas’s electoral victory over Fatah was an expression of “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Yasser Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, Western lecturing and, most recently and tellingly, the threat of an aid cut off in the event of an Islamist success.”
Malley wrote for the New York Times in 2002 that “security concerns can legitimately explain some of the Israeli Army’s actions,” but that “in more than one instance, that rationale would be difficult to sustain,” accusing Israel of seeking political gain by intentionally destroying Palestinian medical facilities and “school records,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The potential appointment of Malley “certainly raises eyebrows—not about Malley, but about Kerry,” an unnamed source told the Washington Free Beacon.
“It is surprising that Kerry would pick such a high-profile choice who has been involved in so many controversies,” the source said.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from JNS.org on reports of Malley’s potential appointment.