Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned a speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today as biased against Israel and more focused on settlements than Palestinian violence.
Speaking from his office following Kerry’s speech in Washington, Netanyahu said the outgoing secretary of state paid only “lip service” to Palestinian violence against Israelis.
“What he did was he spent most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace,” Netanyahu said. He added later that “Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders”.
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In an earlier statement from Netanyahu’s office, the premier said “like the Security Council resolution that Secretary Kerry advanced in the UN, his speech tonight was skewed against Israel”.
“For over an hour, Kerry obsessively dealt with settlements and barely touched upon the root of the conflict — Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries.”
Kerry’s speech included sharp criticism of Israeli settlement building and came after last week’s UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to such activity.
The United States abstained at the Security Council, allowing the resolution to pass 14-0.
The United States and others say continued settlement building is steadily eating away at the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu has accused US President Barack Obama’s administration of being behind the resolution, which it denies, and vowed not to abide by it.
Netanyahu said today it “reflects a radical shift in US policy towards the Palestinians on final status issues, those issues that we always agreed, the US and Israel, have to be negotiated directly face to face without preconditions”.