John Kerry washes hands off Israel, Trump asks Netanyahu to stay strong

John Kerry washes hands off Israel, Trump asks Netanyahu to stay strong

The U.S-Israeli bilateral relationship is thought to be one of the strongest in the world. In fact, Israel’s stated policy remains that the only ally it has in the world is America. However, the foundations of this time-tested bond were shaken when the United States’ Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a scathing and acrimonious speech targeting the Jewish state on Wednesday.

Speaking, on the problems in the Middle-East, the diplomat who has only 23 days left in office, indicated that peace in the region remained evasive because of Israel’s ‘perpetual occupation of the Palestinian state.’ The speech that received strong condemnation from all American quarters stated, “Some seem to believe that the U.S. friendship means the U.S. must accept any policy, regardless of our own interests, our own positions, our own words, our own principles — even after urging again and again that the policy must change.”

Kerry added, “Friends need to tell each other the hard truths, and friendships require mutual respect. The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements. The result is that policies of this government — which the Prime Minister himself just described as ‘more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history’ — are leading in the opposite direction, towards one state.”

The speech is amplified by the fact that only last week the united States had allowed the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Prime Minister of Israel was quick to give Secretary Kerry a reply with the same own coin. Netanyahu who had earlier commented, “friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” added, “The entire Middle East is going up in flames, entire countries are toppling, terrorism is raging and for an entire hour the secretary of state attacks the only democracy in the Middle East. Maybe Kerry did not notice that Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christmas can be celebrated in peace and security. Sadly, none of this interests the secretary of state.”

However, Israel did receive support from unexpected quarters. Asking Prime Minister Netanyahu to wait a short while longer, the United States’ President-elect, Donald Trump tweeted out, “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

The speech which dented the steadfast relationship that has progressed since the Jewish state’s formation seems to have been a by-product of the failed Middle-East policy adopted by the Obama Administration. Even as the situation in Syria, Iraq and Yemen seem to worsen, the US Department of State believes that the growing population of Arabs in Israel disallows for the existence of a one-state solution under a declared Jewish State under the garb of democracy. Many, have however, pointed out that while Israel is ready to work out a peaceful solution, Palestinian leaders stand against the very existence of the Jewish state.

Commenting on the Secretary of State’s speech, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, said, “The minute the Israeli government agrees to cease all settlement activities, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, and agree to implement the signed agreements on the basis of mutual reciprocity, the Palestinian leadership stands ready to resume permanent status negotiations.”

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