Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking on his vision of “peace between Israel and the PA” blamed ‘settlements’ for putting the two-state solution in jeopardy.
Kerry claimed that the Obama Administration did not betray Israel when it allowed the passage of an anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council last week. “Throughout his administration, President Obama has been deeply committed to Israel and its security. And that commitment has guided his pursuit of peace in the Middle East.”
“This administration has been Israel’s greatest friend and supporter.” he claimed. “No American administration has done more for Israel’s security than Barack Obama’s.”
In a speech billed by US officials as the secretary’s comprehensive vision for peace between the two peoples, Kerry spoke for over an hour from the State Department of his commitment to Israel’s long-term security as a Jewish and democratic state. As he has stated in the past, Kerry warned that the future is in grave jeopardy.
“There really is no viable alternative,” Kerry said. “We can only encourage them to take this path. We cannot walk down it for them.”
“The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel,” he declared. “Separate and unequal is what you would have, and no one can explain how that works.”
Kerry offered some criticism for the Palestinian Authority, as well, lamenting its glorification of terrorism on official media channels. But most of his speech focused on Israel’s entrenchment in Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem, where he accused government officials of orchestrating a strategy to kill the two-state solution.
He specifically criticized a bill under consideration in the Knesset that would effectively legalize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, applying Israeli civilian law in the territory for the first time— a “major step toward annexation,” he warned.
He slammed Israel’s approval of Jewish communities closer to the Jordanian border than to its own, and the government’s failure to offer the PA reciprocal rights to build on land that, under any scheme, would be Palestinian territory under a two-state solution.
“If more and more settlers are moving in to the Palestinian areas, it’s going to be that much harder to separate,” he said, adding: “Settlement expansion has nothing to do with Israeli security.”
Shortly before the speech, US President-elect Donald Trump chided the Obama administration for its stance toward Israel.
“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the US, but not anymore,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (UN)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching,” he added, referring to when he takes over the White House from Democratic President Barack Obama.
Trump also noted that he was doing his “best” to “disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Trump’s tweet later Wednesday. “President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!” wrote Netanyahu.
Toward the end of his speech, Kerry acknowledged that the incoming administration has indicated plans to reverse decades of bipartisan US policy on Israel’s ‘settlement activity’.
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