United States Secretary of State John Kerry lashed out at Israel on Saturday, saying that current trends in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are leading to a “one-state solution” and warning that if that were to happen, Israel would risk no longer being a Jewish and democratic state.
Speaking at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC, and quoted by Haaretz, Kerry also warned of the Palestinian Authority's collapse and called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to prove that his support for the two-state solution is not just a slogan but a part of Israeli policy.
Kerry made clear in his speech that the U.S. remains committed to the “two-state solution”, but asserted that the two sides are the ones who must take decisions that affect their future.
He also lashed out at the Israeli government and said that despite Netanyahu's expression of support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, several Israeli cabinet ministers have declared their opposition to such a move.
"If there is a risk the Palestinian Authority might collapse and Israel wants it to survive, shouldn't Israel do more to help sustain it?" Kerry said, according to Haaretz.
"Without the Palestinian Authority, Israel will be responsible for civil administration of the West Bank - it costs billions," Kerry warned. "Without the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, the IDF would be forced to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers to the West Bank indefinitely."
He also said that the distrust between the sides has never been more profound and that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas "feels great despair - more than I have ever heard him."
He then warned that the "two-state solution" must not become a "slogan," warning that "current trends are leading for a one-state reality."
"We have to be honest about what a one-state solution looks like," Kerry said, adding, "The one-state solution is no solution at all for a Jewish, democratic Israel living in peace."
He did, at the same time, stress that violence must stop in order to achieve peace and said that “Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself."
"We need people to act in restraint. The Palestinian leadership should stop the incitement and condemn terror attacks," he added.
Kerry has continuously called for Israel and the PA to negotiate on a “two-state solution”. This has been the United States’ official position for quite some time, though officials in the Obama administration recently admitted that reaching this solution before Obama’s term expires is unlikely.
Meanwhile, Abbas has refused to resume talks with Israel and has continuously imposed new preconditions on talks, even after Netanyahu declared he was willing to meet with him.
Furthermore, Abbas himself recently admitted to Israeli television that he rejected "out of hand" an offer from former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for a PA state on nearly 95% of Judea and Samaria.