John Kerry arrives in Israel, July 23.
(photo credit: MATTY STERN, US EMBASSY TEL AVIV)
Israeli intelligence intercepted phone calls of US Secretary of State John Kerry while he was trying to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority earlier this year, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.
The report was confirmed by several sources in the intelligence community, according to Der Spiegel.
Kerry used both encrypted phone lines as well as ordinary phones, and the unencrypted conversations were listened to via satellite, according to Der Spiegel
The government in Jerusalem used the information from Kerry's conversations in its negotiations, according to the report.
The US State Department and Israel both refused Der Spiegel'
s request for comment on the wiretap.
The US-led peace talks fell apart at the end of April.
A media report featured in Newsweek
magazine in May said Israel’s intelligence operations in the US are “unrivaled and unseemly,” extending to surveillance of senior White House officials.
Israel’s political establishment responding forcefully to the accusations
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who holds the intelligence portfolio in the Netanyahu government, accused “someone of trying to maliciously and intentionally harm relations between Israel and the United States.”
Steinitz “unequivocally” denied the Newsweek
report as having “no basis” in fact. Michael Wilner contributed to this report.