TAPPER: Senator Kerry, General David Petraeus recently said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in CENTCOM's area of operations and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world."
And the head of the Mossad, Israeli intelligence, Meir Dagan, said this week, quote, "Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden."
Do you believe the state of Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States?
KERRY: No, I don't believe that. But there are obviously tensions with respect to certain policies. We've seen that.
But let's begin at the very beginning of a big picture here. Israel has every right in the world to make certain that weapons are not being smuggled in after the thousands of rockets that have been fired on it from Gaza.
And Israel has every right in the world, as recognized by the international community -- because it is not just Israel conducting this blockade; it is Israel and Egypt. So you begin that Israel has this right to protect itself.
Now, that said, Gaza is a -- is a humanitarian challenge, and Israel understands that, I think. And this has underscored it.
TAPPER: But, why...
TAPPER: If I could just interject for one second, Senator, if I could, you were there; you were in Gaza in 2009. You found that they could not even bring pasta into Gaza. It was on a list of prohibited items. You went to the Israelis and you said, what gives? They -- I think they bent on that and allowed pasta in.
What is the situation in Gaza that the Israelis won't even let pasta in?
KERRY: There are still items -- there's confusion in the process. And I've talked to Prime Minister Netanyahu. I've talked to Defense Minister Ehud Barak about this. I believe that Israel is working now to try to put together -- and we need to work with them to make this happen. We need to guarantee that the supplies for building can go in to Gaza for reconstruction but that they are not going to be able to be used by Hamas either to build rockets or bunkers or to augment Hamas's position in Gaza.
So I think there is a way to do this. I think that what we need to do in the days ahead is put out a list of the things that cannot go in and have a clarity for those groups trying to get things in as to what can go in, and get back to the movement and access cooperation that existed previously, where we really have a better flow of goods.
Let me just tell you, it is in Israel's interest in its security and national defense interest, to deal more effectively with the Gaza situation.
Right now, you have Hamas building a seaside resort using goods that are smuggled through the Rafah tunnels, while the United Nations entity in Gaza has 40,000 kids on a waiting list to go to school, and they're trying to build 15 schools this year.
That is not in Israel's interest, in our judgment. And so I believe we need to work with Israel diligently in these next few days and get those goods moving.