Kerry due to present “vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace”

Source: Reurters 

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry will lay out his vision for ending the ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ in a speech on Wednesday, days after the United States cleared the way for a UN resolution calling for an end to settlement construction while simultaneously declaring them illegal.

The speech, less than a month before President Barack Obama leaves office, is expected to be the administration’s last word on a decades-old dispute that Kerry had hoped to resolve during his four years as America’s top diplomat.

It could also be seen in Israel as another parting shot at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had an especially acrimonious relationship with Obama since they both took office in 2009.

The United States on Friday broke with a longstanding approach of diplomatically shielding Israel and abstained on a United Nations Security Council resolution that passed with 14 countries in favor and none against.

Kerry will discuss the abstention when he speaks at the State Department at 11am ET (6pm, Israel Time), a senior State Department official told reporters.

“We believe that with the two-state solution in peril, it is important to share the deeper understanding we have developed of both sides’ bottom lines during intensive consultations in recent years,” the official said.

The speech will also address what the official called “misleading” accusations by Israeli officials that the Obama administration drafted and forced the resolution to a vote.

Despite attempts to refute these allegations, Egyptian news website Al-Youm al-Saba’a—which is considered to be Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s mouth piece—published a supposed protocol on Tuesday of a meeting that was held in Washington on December 12 between US Secretary of State John Kerry and US National Security Advisor Susan Rice and a Palestinian delegation headed by senior Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) member Saeb Erekat corroborating that the Obama administration had a hand in the resolution.

Undeterred by the UN resolution, Israel’s Jerusalem municipality is due to consider on Wednesday requests for construction permits for hundreds of new homes for Israelis in areas captured in 1967 Six-Day defensive war and annexed to the city.