On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a speech on the Middle East peace process and defended the United States’ decision to vote against Israeli settlements at the United Nations Security Council last Friday. During his speech, Kerry stated that the Obama Administration believes a two-state solution is “the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace” between Israel and Palestinians and that the two-state solution is in “serious jeopardy.”
“Despite our best efforts over the years, the two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy,” Kerry said at the State Department. “We cannot, in good conscience, do nothing, and say nothing, when we see the hope of peace slipping away.”
“The truth is that trends on the ground – violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion and the seemingly endless occupation – are destroying hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality that most people do not actually want.”
“Today, there are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea. They have a choice,” Kerry went on. “They can choose to live together in one state or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality.”
“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic,” Kerry said. “It cannot be both.”
“Moreover,” Kerry continued, “the Palestinians will never fully realize their vast potential in a homeland of their own with a one state solution.”
He also stated that a single-state solution would result in “separate and unequal” situation for millions of Palestinians.
“Settlement expansion has nothing to do with Israel’s security,” he added.
Kerry went on to criticize Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and said that his coalition “is the most right-wing in the Israeli history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.”
Secretary Kerry also defended the United States’ decision not to veto the UN vote on Friday, stating that the US “did in fact vote in accordance with our values.”
Kerry suggested that Jerusalem should be the “capital of two states.”
On Friday, the UN Security Council voted on Resolution 2334, which calls for a halt to all Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, abstained from voting on the anti-settlement resolution and allowed the other countries to pass a resolution condemning the Jewish nation.