John Kerry

We are Using the Wrong Timeline for the Jewish State

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Foreign ministers 100 years apart: Arthur Balfour of Britain and John Kerry of the U.S. (photos: Mondoweiss)

In his parting speech, former Secretary of State John Kerry described a future of a “one-state” scenario — Palestinians living in enclaves without rights — but he was actually describing the situation of today.

By Jonathan Ofir / Mondoweiss
January 3, 2017


“I say [the two state solution] was not born because I think that there was not one Prime Minister in Israel who ever really intended it. Because if there had been a PM who would have really intended it, then they would first of all stop with the settlements. And no PM has ever stopped with the settlements.”
— Gideon Levy


In his recent speech titled “Remarks on Middle East Peace,” US Secretary of State John Kerry offered a wide historical symmetric trajectory including “milestones” which Kerry believes “illustrate the two sides of the conflict and form the basis for its resolution.”

His three-point trajectory was based upon three dates: 1897, 1947 and 1967.

It started out 120 years ago, 1897, with the First Zionist Congress in Basel, “by a group of Jewish visionaries, who decided that the only effective response to the waves of anti-Semitic horrors sweeping across Europe was to create a state in the historic home of the Jewish people, where their ties to the land went back centuries – a state that could defend its borders, protect its people, and live in peace with its neighbors. That was the vision. That was the modern beginning, and it remains the dream of Israel today,” as Kerry appraises.
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A Significant Resolution on Israel

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Obama Administration of carrying out an “underhanded, anti-Israel maneuver” in its failure to veto a U.N. resolution targeting Israeli settlements. (photo: Dan Balilty / AFP / Getty)

By Bernard Avishai / The New Yorker
December 27, 2016


“Secretary Kerry averaged roughly one phone call a week to the Israeli Prime Minister over the last four years — almost four hundred — to plead, to warn, against the path his government was on. Not only did settlement-construction activities continue apace, they were accelerated.”
— Robert Malley, the special assistant to the President on the National Security Council, the senior adviser for the campaign against isis, and the White House coördinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf


Last Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2334, with a dramatic abstention by the Obama Administration. The resolution called on Palestinian leaders to take “immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror,” and refrain from “incitement and inflammatory rhetoric.” Its real target, though, was Israel’s settlement project, which, the resolution sharply claimed, has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Later in the day on Friday, I spoke to Robert Malley, the special assistant to the President on the National Security Council, the senior adviser for the campaign against isis, and the White House coördinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf. In February, 2011, the Obama Administration vetoed a similar U.N. condemnation of settlements—opposing fourteen other members of the Security Council and a hundred and twenty co-sponsors from the General Assembly. Why abstain now, I asked Malley, and not then? “A real difference is that efforts to advance negotiations were ongoing in 2011,” Malley told me. “We were concerned not to interfere with a process that had some prospect of progressing. That’s not the case since Secretary Kerry’s efforts in 2014. We are at an impasse. There is no prospect of resumption of serious meaningful talks between the sides, so the argument that a U.N. resolution would interfere with negotiations doesn’t hold much water.”

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12 Big Takeaways from John Kerry’s Speech

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Secretary of State John F. Kerry delivering remarks at the State Department on Dec 28, 2016. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News)

By Tiffany Harness and Julie Vitkovskaya / The Washington Post
December 28, 2016


“Let’s be clear: Settlement expansion has nothing to do with Israel’s security; many settlements actually increase the security burden on the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]. And leaders of the settler movement are motivated by ideological imperatives that entirely ignore legitimate Palestinian aspirations.”


Secretary of State John F. Kerry delivered frank remarks on the Middle East peace process at the State Department on Wednesday. Here are excerpts from his speech:

On “trends on the ground”:

“The truth is that trends on the ground — violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion and the seemingly endless occupation — are destroying hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality that most people do not actually want.”

On accusations that the United States was conspiring against Israel:

“We also strongly reject the notion that somehow the United States was the driving force behind this resolution” — a reference to a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity that the United States declined to veto.

On Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“In literally hundreds of conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I have made clear that continued settlement activity would only increase pressure for an international response.”

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