In a lengthy speech delivered with less than a month until he leaves office, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday warned that Israeli settlement building is a dire threat to peace in the Middle East.
“The settler agenda is defining the future in Israel,” Kerry said amid high tensions over last week’s United Nations Security Council vote demanding an end to settlement activity. “And their stated purpose is clear: They believe in one state: Greater Israel.”
“No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality of the threat settlements pose to peace,” he said in the 70-minute speech (pdf). And, Kerry added: “The problem goes well beyond just settlements. Trends indicate a comprehensive effort to take West Bank land for Israel and prevent any Palestinian development there.”
The Associated Press described Kerry’s address as “a comprehensive airing of grievances that have built up in the Obama administration over eight years but were rarely, until this month, discussed publicly.”
The New York Times reported:
Indeed, Kerry blasted Netanyahu’s government, declaring:
But Reuters noted that Kerry’s
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Meanwhile, Netanyahu “thanked” Trump for his “clear-cut support for Israel” on Twitter Monday, tagging Trump’s children Ivanka and Donald, Jr. in the message.
And in a statement on Tuesday, Netanyahu’s office denounced the speech, saying it was “skewed against Israel” and “obsessively” focused on Israeli settlements.
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