British Prime Minister Theresa May has distanced the United Kingdom from the United States over John Kerry’s condemnation of Israel. This move is being assessed as an attempt to build bridges with the incoming Trump administration, reports the Guardian.
Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a robust speech this week that criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as the “most rightwing coalition in Israeli history” and warned that the rapid expansion of settlements in the occupied territories meant that “the status quo is leading toward one state and perpetual occupation”.
A spokesperson for the British Prime Minister said that May thought it was not appropriate to make such strongly worded attacks on the makeup of a government or to focus solely on the issue of Israeli settlements. “We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.
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The government believes that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between the two parties, supported by the international community,” he said. Even as UK backed the UN resolution passed last week that condemned the continued expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian occupied territory, May’s spokesman said she was concerned about the language Kerry had used.
Following the development, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said: “We are surprised by the UK Prime Minister’s office statement given that Secretary Kerry’s remarks—which covered the full range of threats to a two state solution, including terrorism, violence, incitement and settlements—were in-line with the UK’s own longstanding policy and its vote at the United Nations last week.”