TEL AVIV — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office slammed Wednesday’s Middle East policy speech by lame-duck Secretary of State John Kerry as “biased” against Israel while charging Kerry “dealt obsessively” with the issue of settlements, meaning Israeli communities in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Netanyahu’s office distributed the following statement to media outlets, including Breitbart Jerusalem:
“Like the resolution that John Kerry advanced at the UN [Security Council. For over an hour, Kerry dealt obsessively with the settlements and almost didn’t touch on the root of the conflict — the Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries.”
Kerry used the speech to set the parameters of future Israeli-Palestinian final-status talks and he declared that Israel “can either be Jewish or democratic” but “it cannot be both.”
Breitbart’s Joel B. Pollak reported on Kerry’s speech
Kerry said “both sides” played to each other’s worst fears and stereotypes, placing Israel and the Palestinians on equal moral footing, even though the Palestinian Authority officially promotes terrorism and antisemitism. There is no analogous rhetoric — at least not on an official level — in Israel, whose population is one-fifth Arab and where Arabs have equal rights.Later, Kerry complained about Netanyahu’s democratically-elected government — which the Obama administration did its best to defeat in 2015 by using American taxpayers’ money to fund left-wing political efforts during the Israeli election — “His current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.”
Kerry admitted that settlements were not the primary cause of the conflict. “Of course they are not.” He also admitted that peace would not result if all of the settlements were removed, and acknowledged that “certain settlements would become part of Israel” in a peace agreement.
Kerry concluded by recounting a potted history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as perceived by each side — at least, as he perceived the two sides’ perspectives. He downplayed Palestinian terrorism and Israeli attempts to achieve peace.
He outlined basic principles for a peace agreement creating two states, including territorial compromise based on the “1967 lines” (the 1949 armistice lines), with land swaps to “reflect practical realities on the ground.” He said that Palestinians and Israelis should provide “full, equal rights for all of their citizens,” and that the issue of Palestinian refugees should be resolved in a way that preserved Israel as a Jewish state, including financial compensation and resettlement elsewhere. He said that peace required a non-militarized Palestinian state, with a full end to Israeli military occupation, and normalization of Israel’s relations with its neighbors.
Controversially, Kerry’s peace plan also includes Jerusalem as the capital of “the two states” — an outcome that Israel has not accepted, except in the peace terms offered at Camp David in 2000, which the Palestinians rejected.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.