British leader Theresa May breaks with John Kerry’s condemnation of Israel

British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned a blunt speech this week by Secretary of State John F. Kerry on the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an unusual move that boosted Britain’s relations with the incoming Trump administration at the expense of President Obama.

The rare diplomatic spat between Britain and the United States, which was met with surprise by the State Department, highlighted the fast-collapsing influence of the lame-duck White House. It also pointed to a vast reordering of international affairs expected after Donald Trump takes office in three weeks, as U.S. allies position themselves to curry favor in the new order.

The transatlantic split was particularly unexpected given that May’s government acted as a key broker between U.S. and Palestinian interests ahead of a U.N. Security Council vote last week to declare Israeli settlement construction “illegal.” British diplomats worked as go-betweens in shaping the measure to ensure that the language was acceptable to the United States, Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz newspapers reported this week.

Kerry on Wednesday offered a harsh assessment of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that “his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements.” He criticized persistent Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank as a threat to the “two-state solution” under

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/britains-leaderbreaks-with-kerrys-condemnation-of-israel/2016/12/30/33371564-ce97-11e6-a87f-b917067331bb_story.html

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