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Netanyahu slams Kerry's statement on settlement

Reporter: Daniel Ryntjes 丨 CCTV.com

12-29-2016 19:15 BJT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned a speech given by outgoing US Secretary of State, John Kerry, on Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Netanyahu said he was disappointed with the speech, calling it unbalanced and obsessively focused on Israeli settlements. He also said Kerry paid only lip-service to terrorism against Israel. In the speech, given in Washington DC on Wednesday, John Kerry called on Israel and Palestine to continue working towards a peace deal.

The speech comes just days after the US abstained from a UN Security Council vote demanding a halt to all Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

John Kerry is stepping away from the white-hot furnace of Middle East diplomacy with a warning to all concerned. In a farewell speech at the US State Department, the secretary of state said the vision of Israel and a future Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace is in jeopardy.

"President Obama and I know that the incoming administration has signaled that they may take a different path, and even suggested breaking from the longstanding U.S. policies on settlements, Jerusalem and the possibility of a two-state solution. That is for them to decide. That's how we work. But we cannot - in good conscience - do nothing, and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away," John Kerry said.

Kerry's own efforts to broker a deal were abandoned in 2014, leading to an extended period of tension between the U.S. and Israel.

That culminated in last week's decision by the Obama administration to AVOID wielding a U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council which voted to condemn continued Israeli settlement construction.

Prime Minister Netanyahu says the current administration is unwilling to acknowledge the reality of multiple threats to Israel's security.

"Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians against the Jewish state for nearly a century. What he did was to spend most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace by passionately condemning a policy of enabling Jews to live in their historic homeland and in their eternal capital Jerusalem," Netanyahu said.

President-elect Donald Trump is expressing strong support of Netanyahu, including mutual opposition to the Iran deal, tweeting.

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