US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are in talks about establishing a global coalition to fight the “medieval savagery” of ISIS, the US State Department said on Wednesday.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that Israel was among a small number of countries contacted by Kerry after the beheading of two American journalists by ISIS. In a frenzied round of telephone diplomacy, the secretary of state also contacted officials in Australia, Italy, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
Psaki said that the US was “reaching out to a range of countries that have a desire to be part of this coalition.” She did not specify what Israel’s role would be should it join the alliance.
“There are already a number of countries that may not be in the Arab world or aren’t in Europe who are already contributing resources and offering assistance to fight ISIL and to address the humanitarian situation in Iraq,” she explained.
Psaki added that the main goal of the coalition would be “destroying and degrading ISIL” while bringing stability to Iraq and Syria.
On Wednesday, US intelligence officials confirmed that a video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS was authentic. Sotloff, who was also a citizen of Israel, was last seen in Syria in August 2013. Last month, ISIS released a video showing the beheading of another American journalist, James Foley.
US President Barack Obama has called for international unity in combating ISIS. Commenting on Sotloff’s gruesome death, Kerry told a ceremony honoring the new special US envoy to Muslim countries, “The real face of Israel is not what we saw yesterday, when the world bore witness again to the unfathomable brutality of ISIL terrorist murders.”
“It’s not masked cowards, whose actions are an ugly insult to the peaceful religion that they violate every single day with their barbarity,” he said. “The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion, based on the dignity of all human beings.”
Kerry, who said that Sotloff’s murder so close to that of Foley’s, was “a punch to the gut.” He vowed that the US would hunt down Sotloff’s killers, “no matter how long it takes.”