Kerry: status quo between Israel, Palestinians ‘unsustainable’
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that the “status quo” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “unsustainable” and that the United States understands of the urgency of the situation.
“The current situation, the status quo, is unsustainable,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin
He added that it was necessary to find a way to negotiate and said the U.S. would continue with these efforts: “Obviously we understand the urgency of it,” he said.
Last week Kerry angered Israelis with statements the conflict between Israel and Palestine was contributing to the rise of radical extremism in the world.
“I respect John Kerry and his efforts but he keeps breaking new records in lack of understanding of our region and the essence of our disputes,” Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said in an interview with Israeli public radio.
“There wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation,” Kerry said after returning from a visit to Egypt.
“People need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity,” he added.
Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan hit back in an interview with Israeli public radio saying had a “lack of understanding of our region and the essence of our disputes.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the far-right Jewish Home party and also is in the security cabinet, said that the world sought to make Israel a scapegoat for its troubles.
“Even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian there will always be someone who blames the Jews,” he wrote on Twitter, alluding to the killings of two British aid workers — recorded in videos posted online — by a jihadist with an English accent.
Their outbursts drew a sharp retort from State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, who said they had taken his comments out of context.
“It is an inaccurate reading of what the secretary said. He did not make a linkage between Israel and the growth of ISIL, period,” Harf told reporters on Friday, using the U.S. acronym for ISIS.
Either they had misread Kerry’s remarks “or someone is engaging in the politics of distortion,” she said.