In Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Israel’s government, saying in a major address that the relentless expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank threatens Israel’s democracy and has all but ended the prospect of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “Despite our best efforts over the years, the two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy. The truth is that trends on the ground—violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion and the seemingly endless occupation—they are combining to destroy hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality that most people do not actually want.”
Kerry’s speech followed intense Israeli criticism of the U.S. for refusing to veto a Security Council resolution last week. The measure condemns Israel’s expansion of settlements as a flagrant violation of international law. Kerry insisted the U.S. had not abandoned its longtime ally, but said Israeli democracy would not survive under a single state.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “But here is a fundamental reality: 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.”
In the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was willing to resume peace talks in exchange for a halt to settlement construction. This is chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Saeb Erekat: “Mr. Netanyahu knows very well that he has the choice: settlements or peace. He can’t have both. Settlements are illegal under international law. Settlements are a flagrant violation to international law. Settlements are the antidote for the two-state solution.”