Tel Aviv-U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro revealed on Sunday that Washington is circulating several proposals to resume the stalled peace talks. Dan Shapiro did not rule out the adoption of an international resolution in this regard.
This came as Americans have been leaking information that the the White House is outraged at the Israeli settlement policy and the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships that are hindering the peace process.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry criticized Israel at a private meeting in New York last Monday over its policy in the West Bank, according to U.S. sources.
The comments came at a closed meeting of ministers representing the countries providing financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
Kerry repeatedly raised his voice, emphasizing that Israel and the Palestinians are moving in the direction of a binational state rather than a Palestinian state alongside Israel and are also headed toward war.
He added that if the international community is interested in putting a halt to these developments, “either we mean it and we act on it, or we should shut up.”
Western diplomats, who were present at the meeting, noted that Kerry was extremely agitated.
The U.S. Secretary of State also criticized the Palestinians, the sources said, citing the rise in Palestinian terror attacks and the incitement against Israel.
However, the thrust of his remarks constituted criticism of the unprecedented rate of construction in the settlements in particular, and Israel’s policies in the West Bank in general.
The Western diplomats noted that Kerry’s comments presented the despair on both sides, but also the understanding emerging not only on Kerry’s part but also among an increasing number of senior White House officials that they need to seriously consider the possibility of promoting a resolution at the U.N. Security Council or at another international forum.
In an interview with Channel 10 last Thursday, Shapiro, hinted at this, noting that the U.S. administration is considering a series of options, including a resolution.
Shapiro added, however, that a decision has yet to be made on the matter.
At the New York meeting last Wednesday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, the subject did not come up for discussion. But in interviews the prime minister gave to Israeli television networks over the weekend, he said he hoped Obama would not force a unilateral political solution on Israel.
On Friday, Netanyahu met one-on-one with Kerry to discuss the Palestinian issue.
The meeting, which was hastily arranged, took place shortly after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Middle East Quartet (the U.S., Russia, the U.N. and the European Union); also attending were the foreign ministers of France and Egypt.
At the end of the meeting, the ministers condemned accelerated construction in the settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes and the retroactive approval of illegal West Bank outposts in recent months.
“All those are steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution,” the Quartet statement said.
“The Quartet stressed the growing urgency of taking affirmative steps to reverse these trends in order to prevent entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.”
At last Monday’s conference of countries providing funding to the PA, Kerry told the several dozen foreign ministers in attendance that after close to four years of talks with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he had come to the conclusion that the actions the two have been taking — and, more than that, the actions they are not taking — are deepening the diplomatic stalemate.
“Now, every single terrible act of violence, every new settlement announcement, takes us not closer to peace; they take us closer to a one-state solution,” he said.
“That is no solution. It is an invitation to perpetual conflict. And as Shimon Peres himself said, it will bring one war, not one state. Make no mistake about it; I believe that is the risk if we continue on the current course.”
Kerry noted that since the release last July of a Quartet report that included a major warning regarding the direction, in which the Israelis and Palestinians were headed, there has only been an increase in violence and Palestinian incitement has continued.
In addition, plans for 2,400 new housing units in the settlements were announced and there has been a dramatic increase in Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes.