Kerry: Use Ceasefire to Resume Peace Talks
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry thinks that the ceasefire in Gaza should be used to resume broader peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Kerry’s remarks were made in an interview Tuesday with the BBC, in which he said the situation could concentrate minds on the need to negotiate a "two-state solution".
In the interview Kerry called for a "bigger, broader approach to the underlying solution of two states" that would provide security for Israel and “a better life and greater freedoms for the Palestinians”.
"I believe that the situation now that has evolved will concentrate people's minds on the need to get back to the negotiations and try and resolve the issues of the two states," he said.
Kerry tried to broker a peace agreement between the sides but those efforts failed when PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity pact and formed a government with the Hamas terrorist organization.
Abbas has indicated his willingness to resume peace negotiations with Israel but conditioned that on Israel releasing terrorists and halting construction in Judea and Samaria.
Kerry also told the BBC in the interview that the U.S. fully supported Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks.
"No country can live with that condition and the United States stands squarely behind Israel's right to defend itself in those circumstances. Period," he declared.
He said that Hamas, which controls Gaza, had "behaved in an unbelievably shocking manner engaging in this activity and, yes, there has been horrible collateral damage as a result.”
Asked whether he supported the PA’s demands for a lifting of Israel's blockade of Gaza, Kerry replied, "What we want to do is support the Palestinians in their desire to improve their lives and to get food in and to open crossings and to reconstruct and have greater freedom."
But he said that had to come "with a greater responsibility towards Israel, which means giving up rockets.”