US Secretary of State John Kerry’s thanked Israelis and Palestinians on Friday for helping his convoy make its way through the snow from Ramallah to Jerusalem after considerable snowfall paralyzed the area’s roads.
It took Kerry’s convoy “I don’t know how many hours” Thursday night to make its way from Ramallah to Jerusalem — ordinarily a 30-minute drive — and he praised Israeli and Palestinian efforts to clear a path for him.
“We’re very appreciative to the police forces of Israel and to the Palestinian effort, because the roads were very tough, and we were very fortunate to be able to get back,” he said.
According to Reuters, the secretary of state’s convoy had its path cleared “by a Palestinian front-end loader whose driver stuck his head out the door to see all the way from Ramallah” to the Israeli checkpoint, at which point Israeli police escorted Kerry to Jerusalem.
Kerry also expressed gratitude for the warm welcome he received in Israel as subzero (centigrade) temperatures gripped Israel’s higher elevations.
“I’ve heard of making your guests welcome and feeling at home, but this is as far as I’ve seen anybody go, giving me a nice New England snowstorm,” Kerry said during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday.
According to the latest estimates, approximately 50 centimeters — 19 inches — of snow descended on the capital since the unusually powerful winter storm struck the Levant on Wednesday night.
Netanyahu quipped in response that “we always say Jerusalem of Gold, this is Jerusalem of snow. We have that too.”