Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday for his speech on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The Prime Minister said that it was a “great disappointment” that undermined his nation. In a speech from Jerusalem, Netanyahu criticized Kerry for spending more time scrutinizing Israeli settlement activity than condemning Palestinian acts of terror.
He said that the remarks were “almost as unbalanced” as the U.N. Security Council resolution which was passed unanimously by the Security Council on Friday, with the U.S. abstaining from the vote. Israel has remained defiant even though it has found no support among most of the world for its settlement activity.
“Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders,” Netanyahu said. The Prime Minister continued by saying that the conflict with the Palestinians “has always been about Israel’s very right to exist.”
“I can only express my regret and say that it’s a shame that Secretary Kerry does not see this simple truth,” he added. The Prime Minister spoke primarily in English which signaled that he was intending to speak more to the American people than anyone else.
While the U.S. has continuously shielded Israel from the U.N.’s actions and sentiments, Friday’s vote marked the first time that the U.S. has stood aside, a sign that at least the Obama administration believes that Israel has overstepped its bounds and is now the aggressor in undermining peace between the two states. With the very conservative Netanyahu at the helm, that seems to be the sentiments of much of the rest of the world as well.
“Secretary Kerry said the U.S. cannot vote against its own policy, but that’s exactly what it did at the U.N.,” said Netanyahu.
Kerry said that the trend toward increased settlement building under Netanyahu is alarming, gradually eroding the possibility of brokering a two state solution. “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic,” he said, adding “it cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace.”
Based on President-elect Donald Trump’s recent aggressively pro-Israel overtures, including his controversial nominee for U.S. ambassador to Israel, Netanyahu certainly believes, and is likely correct, that he will get a better shake from the incoming U.S. administration. However, Trump has exhibited a penchant to favor far more rhetoric than action.
Still Netanyahu said that his country “looks forward to working with President-elect Trump” and lawmakers from both parties “to mitigate the damage this resolution has done, and ultimately, to repeal it.”