Kerry: Israel Needs to Hear 'Hard Truths'

Secretary of state lays out vision for Middle East peace one last time
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2016 1:01 PM CST
Kerry: Israel Needs to Hear 'Hard Truths'
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

John Kerry says the US is still Israel's friend—despite last week's surprising decision to allow a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements—but said Wednesday that sometimes "friends need to tell each other the hard truths," the New York Times reports. With just 23 days left in office, the secretary of state spelled out the Obama administration's vision for peace in the Middle East one last time during a speech. According to CNN, Kerry said the decision to allow the resolution was in keeping with the US' commitment to "preserving the two-state solution," which is "the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

Kerry said the two-state solution is still possible but warns it "is now in serious jeopardy" in part because of Netanyahu's government, which is "the most right-wing in Israeli history." He accused Israel of having settlements "strategically placed in locations that make two states impossible." The Israeli prime minister was not a fan of the speech, calling it "skewed" and saying Kerry was "obsessively" focused on settlements, the AP reports. But Kerry also faulted the Palestinian government for glorifying those who commit attacks on Israeli citizens. "There is absolutely no justification for terrorism and there never will be," USA Today quotes him as saying. Kerry made Israeli-Palestinian peace the major goal of his time as secretary of state—a goal that will go unaccomplished. (More Israel and Palestinians stories.)

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