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Kerry: Two-State Solution Or Endless Occupation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz/File Picture

Washington- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made on Wednesday a final plea to save the two-state solution, warning that disregarding such a solution would lead to an endless Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

During remarks delivered on the Middle East in Washington, Kerry said: “The truth is that trends on the ground – violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion and the seemingly endless occupation – they are combining to destroy hopes for peace on both sides.”

However, he added: “I’m also here to share my conviction that there is still a way forward if the responsible parties are willing to act.”

The secretary of state warned from the failure of the peace efforts by saying: “The alternative that is fast becoming the reality on the ground is in nobody’s interest – not the Israelis, not the Palestinians, not the region – and not the United States.”

Kerry placed Israel between two choices: either be democratic or Jewish. “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both – and it won’t ever really be at peace,” he said.

But, U.S. commentators played down on the importance of Kerry’s remarks concerning the vision of the outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration on how to achieve peace in the Middle East through the two-state solution. The commentators said Obama and Kerry’s views are not binding to the next U.S. administration, and therefore, are not practically important.

In fact, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was quick to announce he rejected Kerry’s remarks, strongly criticizing the administration of his predecessor. Trump also accused the Obama administration of mistreating Israel. In a tweet posted Wednesday, the incoming president wrote: “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect.”

Trump also told Israel to “stay strong” until January 20 when he is sworn in as U.S. President.

The first Israeli reaction to Kerry’s speech came from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who criticized the Obama administration, calling John Kerry’s earlier speech “unbalanced.”