(JERUSALEM) – On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a firm rebuke of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s condemnation of Israeli settlements and defense of the two-state solution.
Netanyahu slammed Kerry and expressed his “deep disappointment” in what he says is a radical shift in U.S. policy toward the Palestinian territory despite the Palestinians’ decision to “walk away from peace” and their refusal to negotiate peace with Israel.
“How can you make peace with someone who rejects your very existence?” Netanyahu asked.
“It’s a shame that Secretary Kerry does not see this simple truth.”
Netanyahu also dismissed the Obama administration’s framework for resolving the conflict in the Middle East, saying there should be a “one and only Jewish state, a sovereign nation that is the master of its own fate.”
At the U.S. State Department earlier today, Kerry laid out the administration’s final attempt to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians stemming from decades of religious, ideological and territorial warring.
“This is a time to stand up for what is right,” Kerry said. “We have long known what two states, living side by side, in peace and security looks like. We should not be afraid to say so.”
But Netanyahu rejected the plea.
“We do not need to be lectured,” Netanyahu said in a stern reprimand to Kerry and the Obama administration.
He added the speech was “almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel U.N. resolution from last week,” referencing the recent U.N. vote condemning Israeli settlements, for which the United States abstained.
“I don’t seek applause,” Netanyahu said. “I seek the security and peace and prosperity and the future of the Jewish state.”
With the Obama administration winding down, Netanyahu pointed to a glimmer of hope in his path to a one-state solution.
“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump and with the American Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to mitigate damage that this [U.N.] resolution has done and ultimately to repeal it,” Netanyahu said.
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