Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said that it was the fault of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) that a peace deal was not agreed upon during the Obama administration.
Speaking to Christiane Amanpour on CNN, Kerry rejected Amanpour’s assertion that the administration failed to broker a peace deal.
“The leaders of the two countries involved – one country and one entity, the Palestinian Authority – have failed to come to the table and reach agreement. You know the old saying – you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink. Now, we did a lot of leading to a lot of water, but people decided they weren’t ready for one reason or another to move,” he said.
Kerry also defended the administration’s decision to abstain during the vote at the UN Security Council on Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
The reason for the abstention, said Kerry, is “because we believe that Israel has a major choice and the Palestinians have a major choice.”
He then went on to again criticize Israel’s presence communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, just as he did in the speech he gave several days after the passing of Resolution 2334.
“The choice we put to Israel is if you want to be a Jewish state and you want to be a democracy, you cannot be a unitary state. And right now, they’re marching down the road, because of the increased settlements, because of the absence of a legitimate negotiation, towards that possibility,” Kerry told Amanpour, before insisting that the Obama administration has “done more for this government, more for Israel, than any other administration with the Iron Dome and the $38 billion [in defense assistance.]”
“We speak out of a caring and concern for Israel as a democratic and Jewish state, and we also speak out of concern for the Palestinians, who will not be able to satisfy their aspirations ever without the ability to be able to create a state,” he continued.
“I guarantee you the Palestinians are not going to agree to less than a state based on 1967 lines with swaps. They’re just not going to do that,” declared Kerry.
In 2014, Kerry attempted to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the PA, but was unable to do so. The talks ended abruptly when the PA unilaterally applied to join 15 international organizations in breach of the conditions of the peace talks.
Since then, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has continuously rejected direct talks, choosing instead to impose preconditions for such talks.