U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the Israeli government
over settlement building, warning that the two-state solution is “in
jeopardy,” in a lengthy speech Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly called “almost as unbalanced” as the United
Nations Security Council’s recent anti-settlement resolution.
“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or
Democratic, it cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace,”
Kerry said in his speech, which lasted an hour and a half and detailed
the outgoing Obama administration’s vision for Middle East peace.
With less than a month left in President Barack Obama’s term, Kerry defended Obama’s decision
to abstain from the vote on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334,
allowing the measure to pass and breaking from the longstanding U.S.
policy of vetoing one-sided U.N. resolutions targeting Israel. The
secretary of state laid out the case to continue to push for a two-state
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while questioning
Netanyahu’s commitment to Palestinian statehood and calling the Israeli
leader’s current government “the most right-wing in Israel’s history.”
The reaction from Jerusalem was immediate and searing. At a press
conference, Netanyahu expressed “deep disappointment” in how Kerry
blamed Israeli policy for the conflict and merely “paid lip service” to
the unrelenting terrorism waged against the Jewish state since it
declared independence in 1948.
“Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by
foreign leaders,” Netanyahu said. “No one wants peace more than the
people of Israel.”
The prime minister said he looks forward to working with the incoming
Donald Trump administration to “mitigate” the fallout from the U.N.
resolution and to “repeal” it. He predicted that stemming from next
month’s international peace conference in Paris, France or Sweden could
bring another devastating U.N. resolution against Israel, emphatically
saying that the U.S. should not enable more harmful resolutions against
the Jewish state and calling on Obama to “stop this game, the charades.”
Netanyahu went on to say, “My vision is that Israelis and
Palestinians both have a future of mutual recognition, of dignity,
mutual respect, co-existence. But the Palestinian Authority tells them
that they will never accept, should never accept the existence of a
Jewish state. So, I ask you, how can you make peace with someone who
rejects your very existence?
“The persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state
remains the core of the conflict and its removal is the key to peace.
“Palestinian rejection of Israel and support for terror
are what the nations of the world should focus on if they truly want to
advance peace, and I can only express my regret and say that it’s a
shame that Sec. Kerry does not see this simple truth.”
President-elect Trump took to social media before Kerry’s speech,
tweeting, “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total
disdain and disrespect.” He added, “Israel used to have a great friend
in the U.S., but…not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible
Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, Jan. 20th is fast
Netanyahu responded by tweeting, “President-elect Trump, thank you
for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel!”
On Dec. 23, the U.N. Security Council voted 14-0 to pass the
resolution, which demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease
all settlement activities in the ‘occupied’ Palestinian territory,
including east Jerusalem,” adding that the establishment of Israeli
settlements has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation
under international law.” The measure states that the Western Wall is
located in “occupied Palestinian land,” and encourages boycotts and
sanctions against Israel.
The resolution was first introduced by Egypt, which backed down after
Trump intervened, before New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela
pushed for the eventual vote. Netanyahu said Wednesday that he has
“absolutely incontestable evidence” that the Obama administration
colluded against Israel prior to the U.N. vote, a claim supported by
leaked documents released in the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Youm Al-Saba’a, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Ten days before the vote, Kerry and White House National Security
Adviser Susan Rice had told a Palestinian delegation in Washington,
D.C., that “the U.S. would not impose a veto on such a resolution if its
wording was balanced,” Haaretz reported. The White House has denied that report.
Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that British diplomats worked with
the Palestinians on the wording of the resolution before it was unveiled
Dec. 21, ahead of the vote two days later. The U.K. also reportedly
encouraged New Zealand to be at the forefront of the vote. Hours before
the Security Council voted, Netanyahu called New Zealand Foreign
Minister Murray McCully and asked him to not support the “scandalous
decision,” adding that “it will be a declaration of war” if he supported
the resolution, according to Haaretz.
Commenting on Kerry’s speech,
Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon said the Obama
Administration “acted against Israel at the U.N., and any claim to the
contrary is a distortion of reality.”
“Neither speeches nor statements will bring peace to our region,”
Danon said. “The only way forward is for the Palestinians to understand
that they must condemn terror, end incitement and return to the
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the speech was “divorced from reality” – filled with good intentions but unrealistic.
“Secretary Kerry’s speech was like his policy – with good intention, but divorced from reality.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the Kerry principles
“impossible.” “We have 25 years of experience with similar ‘outlines for
peace,’ but instead of peace they gave rise to the terrorism threat. At
the end of the day, no speech or unilateral move at the United Nations
will lead to an agreement.
“The Jewish People will not withdraw from our land in order to create a terror state,” Hotovely said.
By Karen McDonough/JNS.org. With additional reporting by Andrew Friedman/TPS.
Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/81050/do-america-israel-r eally-stand-united/#hwkZg3ffGWvMimTd.99
Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his "deep disappointment" over
today's speech by US Secretary of State, John Kerry. Bibi called it "a
speech that is almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed
at the UN last week," noting that "Secretary Kerry paid lip service to
the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the
Palestinians against the Jewish State for nearly a century..." Click here view the video of Netanyahu's response.(Screengrab via Fox News)
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