Amid ongoing Israeli outrage at last week’s UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to settlement expansion in the occupied territories, Secretary of State John Kerry has delivered a major speech strongly criticizing Israel over the settlements, warning they threaten the two-state solution
In fact, Kerry insisted that he had repeatedly warned the Netanyahu government that it’s rapid settlement expansion “invited UN action,” and defended the US abstention on the vote, saying the US saw this as a move to try to save the two-state solution from the settlements.
This has been a recurring warning internationally, and Obama Administration officials are increasingly willing to publicly discuss the issue. Many of Israel’s settlement expansion plans appear designed explicitly to divide the occupied West Bank in such a way as to make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible to establish, and are seen as a deliberate attempt to end the chances of the two-state effort succeeding.
Kerry also became the latest in a growing number of officials to note that the “one-state solution” of Israel keeping the occupied territories would oblige them to either abandon their democratic principles or their status as a “Jewish” state, as they would be absorbing a massive number of Arabs in such an annexation.
Kerry called of Israel to ensure equal rights for their Arab citizens, and insisted that Jerusalem could end up the capital of two different nations at the same time. This is likely a non-starter from Israel’s perspective, as Israeli officials have repeatedly insisted Jerusalem, including the occupied parts, are to be the “eternal and undivided” capital of Israel alone.
Israeli officials appeared to recognize the danger of continuing to needle the US over the settlements in the near-term,and postponed a vote which was planned to announce another major settlement expansion in occupied East Jerusalem, not wanting to give Kerry further talking points.