Kerry: Lack of Israel-Palestine Peace Fueling Mideast Extremism

The struggle to reach a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said Kerry, should be viewed within the context of the fight against extremism such as is personified by the Islamic State group.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference in Ankara September 12, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference in Ankara September 12, 2014. Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday drew a line between the need for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the fight against extremism in the Middle East, and urged for the realization of the two-state solution while speaking at a State Department ceremony marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

The struggle to reach a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said Kerry, should be viewed within the context of the fight against extremism such as is personified by the Islamic State group.

"As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the [anti-Islamic State] coalition [...] 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 – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to," said Kerry.

"And people need to understand the connection of that... It has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that."

"So what we need to do is recognize that we need to build peace through specific partnerships. One partnership is specifically the effort to try to drive towards this peace, to have a compromise, to find a way to create two states that can live together side by side, two peoples, with both of their aspirations being respected. I still believe that’s possible, and I still believe we need to work towards it. We also need to figure out how."

Quartet to meet next week

A U.S. official says envoys from the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia will meet in Brussels on October 24 to discuss the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because there has been no official announcement.

The so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators last met in New York in September 2013. It has been sidelined in peacemaking efforts which the U.S. has led. But with John Kerry's failure to broker a peace agreement, it may have a role to play.

The Palestinians are pursuing a UN Security Council resolution that would set a deadline of November 2016 for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. It is virtually certain to face U.S. opposition.