Kerry’s final speech tonight focusing on his Mideast vision for peace did little to relieve the tension between Israel and the Obama Administration following the UN Security Council resolution vote last week. Netanyahu criticized Kerry for hyper-focusing on settlements while spending little time out of his entire speech condemning the Palestinians.
Tensions between the two governments has not subsided Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon, Government Press Office/Channel 2 News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this evening (Wednesday) in a statement to the media following the speech delivered by Secretary of State John Kerry: “Kerry’s speech was a big disappointment. It deals obsessively with Israeli settlements instead of dealing with the root of the conflict – the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state within any border.”
“I was surprised,” Netanyahu proclaimed. “This is what the State Secretary of the greatest power in the world choose to focus on in one of his final speeches in office? The Middle East is in flames: entire countries are collapsing, terrorism is rampant, and for an hour, the Secretary of State attacks the Middle East’s only democracy.”
“Perhaps the Secretary of State did not notice but these days as people are celebrating Christmas, Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians can,” Netanyahu continued. “They do so peacefully and safely in Israel. All this, unfortunately, does not interest the Secretary of State of the United States. It creates a false moral equation comparing the construction of a house in Jerusalem with the acts of terror that strikes the innocent. After he equates the two, he talks almost exclusively about the houses in Jerusalem and then pays lip service by condemning terrorism.”
Netanyahu then returned to criticizing the American abstention, among other things, which led to the passing of an anti-Israel resolution by the UN Security Council. “The UN resolution Kerry pushed, which discussed anonymous incitement, dealt only with the settlements identified with Israel. In contrast, there is still incitement in the territories and no one knows who is behind it. “
“I can only express disappointment,” said Netanyahu. “Had the US government invested the same energy in their fight against Palestinian terrorism as they invested in condemning construction in Jerusalem, we might have had a better chance of promoting peace.” Earlier, in a statement this evening the Prime Minister alleged that Kerry’s speech was “biased against Israel, just like the UN resolution Kerry promoted.”
Likely in reference to Netanyahu saying that “Friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” Kerry said tonight, “Some seem to believe that the US friendship means the US must accept any policy, regardless of our own interests, our own positions, our own words, our own principles – even after urging again and again that the policy must change.” Kerry continued, “Friends need to tell each other the hard truths and friendships require mutual respect.”