State Dept. Backtracks on 'Settlements' Comment

State Department spokesman insists Kerry not trying to assign blame when he linked "settlements" with Arab terror wave.

Ben Ariel,

State Department building
State Department building
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Hours after it was revealed that Secretary of State John Kerry had blamed the latest terror wave in Israel on “settlements”, namely, the existence of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the State Department backtracked on those remarks.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday evening and quoted by Reuters, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Kerry was not assigning blame when he said a "massive increase in settlements" over the past year had been followed by the current outbreak of violence.

Kirby said Kerry had been consistent in "not trying to affix ... blame for the recent violence" but had discussed "the challenges that are posed on both sides by this absence of progress towards a two-state solution."

"He wants both sides to take the affirmative actions, both in rhetoric and in action, to deescalate the tensions, to restore calm, and to try to move forward toward a two-state solution," Kirby added, according to Reuters.

An interview Kerry gave on Tuesday surfaced earlier on Wednesday, in which he blamed Israeli “settlements” for the latest terror wave.

"So here’s the deal. What’s happening is that unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody. And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years,” he said.

"Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement. So I look at that and I say if that did explode – and I pray and hope it won’t and I think there are options to prevent that – but we would inevitably be – at some point we’re going to have to be engaged in working through those kinds of difficulties. So better to try to find the ways to deal with it before that happens than later," added Kerry.

No mention was made of the role played by violently anti-Semitic propaganda and other efforts to encourage violence by Palestinian groups spanning Hamas to the Palestinian Authority.

The remarks were condemned by Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev, who said, "There is no doubt that John Kerry has made every mistake possible in every Middle East country and around the world. We already knew that there was no way Kerry would analyze the current situation rationally."




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