Kerry harshly condemns Israeli settler activity as an obstacle to peace

Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Wednesday harshly criticized Israeli settlements in the West Bank, saying their growth threatens to destroy the viability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the United States was obliged to allow passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the activity in order to preserve the possibility of peace.

Kerry noted that the number of Israelis living in settlements has grown significantly and that their outposts are extending farther into the West Bank — “in the middle of what, by any reasonable definition, would be the future Palestinian state.”

“No one thinking seriously about peace can ignore the reality of what the settlements pose to that peace,” he said.

Kerry, in the hour-long speech delivered at the State Department, also condemned Palestinian incitement to violence as a barrier to direct negotiations. But his focus was on defending the Obama administration’s policies and highlighting Israel’s actions at a moment of high tension between the two governments, following the passage of the U.N. resolution.

“Regrettably, some seem to believe that the U.S. friendship means the U.S. 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,” he said.

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/kerry-address-middle-east-peace-process-amid-deep-us-israel-strains/2016/12/28/d656e5fa-cd0a-11e6-b8a2-8c2a61b0436f_story.html

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