In remarks lasting over an hour, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid out a sobering rebuke of Israel’s continued settlement expansions.
CCTV America’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.
Secretary Kerry: ‘the two state solution is now in serious jeopardy’In remarks lasting over an hour, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid out a sobering rebuke of Israel’s continued settlement expansions. CCTV America's Daniel Ryntjes reports.
“The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Kerry said, before stating “that future is now in jeopardy” because of the settlements.
Kerry’s remarks come amid growing tensions between the U.S. and Israel after Washington abstained from the U.N. Security Council vote condemning the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government “cannot and will not” accept the decision by the resolution. In remarks following Kerry’s speech, Netanyahu called the comments a “great disappointment.”
The Israeli leader said the speech is “almost as imbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution” at the U.N.
The United States “did not draft or originate” the U.N. resolution, Kerry said, speaking to Israeli claims that America was orchestrating the resolution.
“The vote in the united nations was about preserving the two-state solution,” the secretary of state said, adding that the vote was “in accordance with” American values. The two -state solution for Israel and Palestine, which has long been U.S. policy, is “what we are trying to preserve, for our sake, and for theirs,” Kerry said.
With just weeks left in office, Kerry defended the Obama administration’s relationship of Israel, saying “no American administration has done more for Israeli security than Barack Obama’s.” He emphasized the record levels of military assistance the U.S. has provided Israel under Obama, codified by a 10-year aid deal recently struck worth $38 billion.
Incoming U.S. president Donald Trump weighed in with his disapproval of U.S. actions at the U.N.
We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but…….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2016
Netanyahu praised Trump on Twitter shortly before Kerry took the stage for his statement. “President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel,” Netanyahu said on Twitter.
Kerry blasted against Israel’s continued settlement expansion, saying it goes against international opinion, and hurts all chances to achieve a two-state solution.
“The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel,” the secretary said.
“If Israel goes down the one state path, it will never have true peace with the rest of the Arab World,” Kerry said, adding that the settlements will create a situation where Palestinians are living under a permanent military occupation by Israel, where they are “separate but not equal.”
Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians for an independent state, are now home to 600,000 Israelis.
Joel Rubin discusses Israeli-US relations
Why did the U.S. break away from Israel’s position on the settlement issue? To learn more about the significance of this change, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Joel Rubin, former deputy assistant of the Secretary of State.