Netanyahu calls Kerry speech ‘deep disappointment’

“Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders,” Netanyahu says

(Dan Balilty/AP)

(Dan Balilty/AP)

JERUSALEM – Israel’s prime minister decried Secretary of State John Kerry’s Mideast policy speech as a “deep disappointment” on Wednesday and vowed to work with the incoming Trump administration to contain the fallout from last week’s U.N. resolution calling Israeli settlements illegal.

Netanyahu’s angry statement, delivered at a late-night news conference shortly after Kerry’s address, capped a tumultuous week in which years of tense relations with President Barack Obama boiled over.

“We are not about to be swayed by a mistaken policy that could cause big, big damage,” Netanyahu said, speaking in English. “Israelis do not need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders.”

MORE: Pushing back on Israel, Kerry defends Obama’s U.N. vote

In a farewell speech at the State Department, Kerry outlined his vision for Mideast peace. While his speech included criticism of Palestinian violence and incitement, his strongest words were aimed at Israel, and its policy of settling its citizens in occupied territories claimed by the Palestinians. He said the continued settlement growth is threatening the possibility of a two-state solution, which Netanyahu has endorsed.

“The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel. And their stated purpose is clear: They believe in one state,” Kerry said.

He also defended Obama’s move last week to allow the U.N. Security Council to declare Israeli settlements illegal, the spark that set off a nearly weeklong diplomatic spat between Israel and its most important ally.

“I must express my deep disappointment with the speech today of John Kerry, a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution past at the U.N. last week,” Netanyahu said.

He accused Kerry of paying “lip service” to decades of Palestinian violence against Israelis, while spending “most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace.”

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He repeated his position that Israel is ready to pursue peace through direct negotiations with the Palestinians. Netanyahu, whose government is dominated by West Bank settler supporters who oppose Palestinian independence, says international dictates in favour of the Palestinians undermine the negotiating process.

“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with the American Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to mitigate the damage that this resolution has done and ultimately to repeal it,” he said. He expressed hope that the Obama administration will not pursue any more moves against Israel at the U.N. in its remaining time in office.

Netanyahu and Obama, who took office in 2009 just months apart, have had chilly relations throughout their tenures.

The Obama administration has been a vocal critic of Netanyahu’s policies and questioned his commitment to peace. Netanyahu has harshly criticized the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran.

Although Trump has not outlined his Mideast policy, he has signalled that he will be much more sympathetic to Israel. He has appointed a West Bank settler ally as his ambassador to Israel and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, over Palestinian objections.


Netanyahu calls Kerry speech ‘deep disappointment’

  1. An attempted distraction from the fraud and bribery charges against him…..the same sort of thing he got nailed for last time he was in office.

  2. If The Donald attempts to reverse the U.N. decision there will be a backlash such that he, obviously, can’t imagine.

  3. 2016 United Nations General Assembly Resolutions Critical of Member States:
    Now we all “know” that Israel is a pariah Nation and that PM Netanyahu is the Devil incarnate.
    But what about the other Nations on the Sh*t List ? Not exactly virtuous either. How about a bit of relative fairness and consistency? Talk about double standards!