Kerry Defends Obama Decision to Abstain at Anti-Israel UNSC Vote
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed back on Wednesday against the fury in Jerusalem that has followed the decision by President Barack Obama to order the abstention that allowed the UN Security Council to unanimously pass anti-Israel resolution 2334(2016) last Friday.
“The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” he began, saying that only with two states can Israel remain Jewish and democratic. “Friends need to tell each other the hard truths,” he said. “The policies of [the government of Benjamin Netanyahu] are leading … towards one state.”
Kerry flatly denied an accusation by Israeli leaders that Obama was directly behind the formulation and sponsorship of the resolution, saying the administration “did not draft or originate” the measure and instead insisting it was advanced by Egypt and “other nations.”
Nevertheless, Kerry also said bluntly, “The United States did in fact vote in accordance with our values… the vote in the United Nations was about preserving the two-state solution. That’s what we were standing up for.” He repeatedly expressed concern that the two-state solution was in “jeopardy,” and that a “one-state solution… will not be able to be both Jewish and democratic.”
In a pointed jab at the Netanyahu government, he said, “Let’s be clear. Settlement activity has nothing to do with Israeli security.” Kerry also called for “both sides” to show willingness to work towards peace by making “meaningful” gestures.
On the part of Israel, he recommended the government “transition the administration of Area C to the Palestinians” in accordance with the once-upon-a-time long-term-goals of the long-dead Oslo Accords.
The Secretary also sketched a brief outline of the points he believes would be best to set as final status goals once the two sides come to the negotiating table, for “the way forward” during direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
They were as follows:
1. Provide for secure and recognized intl borders based on the 1967 lines with mutual agreed equiv swaps, viable and contiguous Palestine
2. Fulfill the vision of Res. 181, two states for two peoples, Jewish and Arab, where each can achieve their national aspirations – with mutual recognition and full equal rights
3. Just equal fair rights for Palestinian refugees … comprehensive resolution consistent with two states for two peoples … compensation, options and assistance … Can come from the international community.
4. Establish united Jerusalem as the international capital for two states with access to holy sites for all three world monotheistic faiths.
5. Satisfy Israel’s security needs and ensure Palestine can provide security for its people in a non-militarized state
6. End the conflict and all outstanding claims and enhanced regional claims by the Arab peace initiative.