In Harsh Criticism, Kerry Says Israel Must Choose Between Settlements and Two States

Addressing the Saban Forum in D.C., state secretary says the U.S. will not back 'unfair' UN action on Israel-Palestine.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Washington D.C.
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
John Kerry addresses the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., U.S., December 4, 2016.
John Kerry addresses the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., U.S., December 4, 2016.Credit: Screenshot / YouTube
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON D.C. - In unprecedented and harsh criticism of Israeli government policy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that Israel must choose between settlement construction in the West Bank and a two-state solution.

>> Unpacking Four Years of Frustration, Kerry Leaves Door Open for Obama UN Bid on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Addressing the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., Kerry started off by saying he considers himself an "unapologetic friend of Israel" who is concerned for Israel's safety and security.

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict however, Kerry said that "things are moving in the wrong direction" and there is "no status quo."

Credit: YouTube

The Israeli government does not favor a two-state solution, Kerry said, and therefore the U.S. faces an uphill battle. Israel "is ignoring all our warnings regarding settlements."

Contradicting Netanyahu, Kerry said that peace with the Palestinians is a pre-condition to peace between Israel and the Arab world. Netanyahu, who addressed the forum earlier, suggested that only a deal between Israel and the Arab world could bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table.

Kerry said that continued settlement construction narrows the prospects of peace, but noted that the "tipping point regarding the two-state solution" has not been crossed.

Contrary to recent reports, Kerry said that the U.S. administration has not decided whether to back a UN action concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but noted that the U.S. "will not support an unfair resolution."

He noted that Washington has never suggested any measure that would impose a solution on Israel, but said that any Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would be a gradual one to ensure the situation in the territory does not mirror the one in Gaza.

Earlier, Netanyahu told the forum that Israel remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran had become even more aggressive since the signing of a nuclear agreement with world powers last year, Netanyahu said, stressing that he intended to discuss the Iran issue with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump once he assumes office.

Speaking on the so-called alt-right movement, Netanyahu said that "there is always anti-Semitism on the ultra-right and ultra-left," adding that he believes "the U.S. is a healthy democracy."

On the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu said he still believes a two-state solution can be reached, but reiterated his position that the Palestinian must recognize Israel as the Jewish nation-state. Netanyahu suggested that a peace agreement could be advanced through a regional deal, and added that dictates will not bring peace.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage