SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT/ Reuters

WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM - Israel has dispatched its defence minister to Washington to try and ease new tensions with the United States over remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry that the Jewish state’s failures to forge a peace deal with the Palestinians are to blame for the rise of Islamic State (ISIS).

In harsh comments, two Israeli ministers lashed out at Kerry’s remarks, saying  said that the world sought to make  Israel a scapegoat for its troubles.”Even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian”, said Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, “there will always be someone who blames the Jews.”

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan also weighed in. “It is only Palestinian rejectionism and incitement which are continuing to thwart all attempts to resume negotiations,” Erdan said. “Does anyone truly believe that the Islamic State war criminals will cease their atrocities and abandon their vision of an Islamic state just because Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are renewed?”

When asked by a reporter on Friday about the criticism of Kerry, State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf responded, “First, [Kerry] did not make any linkage between Israel and the growth of ISIL, period. .. “And I would take issue with the part of your question that Israeli leaders, plural, have disagreed with what they thought the secretary said. I saw one in particular. And we would say to that that we know passions run high, politics are intense, but either this specific minister did not actually read what the secretary said, or someone is engaging in the politics of distortion here. By any means, it is an inaccurate reading of what the secretary said. He did not make a linkage between Israel and the growth of ISIL, period.”

On Thursday, speaking at a ceremonial State Department dinner commemorating belated  Eid ul-Adha, Kerry, who was just back from a trip to the Middle East,  implied that Israel’s refusal to concede to Palestinian demands were helping ISIS recruit new fighters.

“As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions,” Kerry told his Muslim audience, “there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt” Kerry asserted. The secretary general of the PLO quickly seized on Kerry’s comments by by announcing that the Palestinian Authority was “ready to work with the American administration to implement different levels of the strategic direction announced by Kerry,” Yasser Abed Rabbo said. “Linking the fight against terrorism and the end of the Israeli occupation is a strategic position that we support.”

Hamas leader’s daughter: Ismail Haniyeh’s daughter’s week-long admission to a hospital in Tel Aviv - which Israeli and Palestinian officials declined to confirm or deny - shows humanitarian coordination between the sides continues just weeks after the Gaza war ended.

Haniyeh, who has 13 children, is the leader of the Islamist group in Gaza and one of its most senior figures overall, serving as a deputy to Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile.

Two sources - one Palestinian and the other a foreign diplomat with knowledge of the case - declined to name the daughter and, out of respect for her privacy, asked that details of her condition not be published. Like many Hamas officials, Haniyeh spent the seven-week-long war largely in hiding. His home in the northern part of the Gaza Strip was destroyed by an Israeli air strike.

An Israeli official said he could not discuss specific medical admissions from Gaza. But he said that in most cases a request by a Palestinian doctor to allow a patient across the border for urgent treatment was sufficient - indicating Haniyeh may not have been personally involved in his daughter’s application.

During the war and since it ended in late August, dozens of patients from Gaza have been brought to hospitals in Israel, where the resources and technology for advanced treatment and complicated operations are vastly better. Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction but has voiced openness to a long-term truce and a measure of cooperation with Israel which, along with neighbouring Egypt, controls access to the coastal enclave, home to 1.8 million Palestinians.

Israeli media has reported that one of Haniyeh’s granddaughter’s was treated in an Israeli hospital last November, while his mother-in-law sought treatment in a Jerusalem hospital in June.