U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at the Saban Forum in Washington D.C. Saturday, warned that current trends in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts are leading to a one-state reality. Kerry also said that if the situation continues, it is unclear how long the Palestinian Authority can survive.
“If there is a risk the Palestinian Authority might collapse and Israel wants it to survive, shouldn’t Israel do more to help sustain it?” Kerry said.
According to Haaretz newspaper Kerry added that the two-state solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict mustn’t become a “slogan,” but warned that “current trends are leading for a one state reality.”
“We have to be honest about what a one-state solution looks like,” Kerry said, warning that Israel couldn’t maintain its character as Jewish and democratic, asking rhetorically what the international reaction would be to such a scenario, and saying that true peace with its neighbors will not be possible under such conditions.
“The one-state solution is no solution at all for a Jewish, democratic Israel living in peace,” Kerry said.
Kerry said that the distrust between the two sides has never been more profound. “President Abbas feels great despair – more than I have ever heard him,” Kerry said.
Saying that peace is the best way to achieve security, Kerry added that first of all, the violence must stop. “There’s no justification for violence against civilians. Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself,” he said.
“We need people to act in restraint. The Palestinian leadership should stop the incitement and condemn terror attacks,” he said.
Regarding the fight against Islamic State, Kerry seemed to be rebutting statements made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon the day before about a lack in U.S. leadership, and laid out U.S. actions and policy against ISIS and in Syria.
“We want a transition to a unified non-sectarian Syria,” Kerry said, adding that the U.S. isn’t naïve about the diplomatic effort in Syria. “It’s difficult,” he admitted. However, he added that the Vienna talks were “the most promising diplomatic effort regarding Syria in the last years.”
Regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, Kerry addressed Israel directly, saying that he knows Israel still has concerns, but that the U.S. is “convinced that we will know what Iran is doing.”
“Under the nuclear deal all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb are blocked,” he said, adding that it was the deal was the right thing to do, “regardless of whether they will change their behavior or not.”