Kerry to Present Obama Administration's Vision for Two-state Solution Wednesday

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Kerry gestures during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 18, 2016.
Kerry gestures during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 18, 2016.Credit: FAISAL Al NASSER/REUTERS/ פי

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will make on Wednesday a diplomatic speech in which he would present the Obama administration's vision regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner announced Tuesday.

Kerry's speech will take place Wednesday afternoon, Israel time.

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Kerry planned to make an address last Thursday, when the UN Security Council resolution against the settlements went up for a vote for the first time. After Egypt, the sponsor of the original motion, backed down, Kerry's speech was canceled.

Although it is still unclear what Kerry's remarks will include, Israeli officials expect the secretary of state to present the American stance on each of the four core issues of the conflict: borders, Jerusalem, security and refugees.

Hours before Kerry was expected to give his speech, Jerusalem canceled a planned vote on hundreds of new construction projects beyond the Green Line for both Jews and Palestinians.

The municipality denied that the Prime Minister's Office directed it to call off construction plans, but in the past couple of years such politically sensitive plans were taken off the city's agenda following the prime minister's instructions. Moreover, Hanan Rubin, a member of the committee, told Reuters the request to put off the vote came from Netanyahu. 

Kerry's remarks could be based on the "framework document" he formulated in March 2014, after a few months of talks with Israel and the Palestinians, which refers to each of the core issues. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to the framework, with some reservations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, disapproved of the paper, and in fact has never officially given his response to the Americans to this day.

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Kerry's speech will take place against the backdrop of a serious crisis between the Israeli government and the Obama administration following the UN resolution against the settlements that past Friday, which the U.S. refused to veto.

Netanyahu fears Kerry's remarks will be used as basis for international imitative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Paris peace summit, taking place on January 15, or even in another Security Council resolution that will be put for a vote before Obama leaves office on January 20.

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