A defiant Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday defended the U.S. decision allowing the U.N. Security Council to formally condemn Israeli settlements last week, saying the Obama administration did so in the interest of a “just and lasting” peace – even as Israeli officials describe the move as a betrayal.
During a farewell speech at the State Department, Kerry explained the decision in his most extensive terms yet. The U.S. abstention on the resolution calling Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem a violation of international law allowed the measure to pass – and has sent the already-turbulent relationship between the Obama and Netanyahu governments into its rockiest stretch yet,
Kerry said a two-state solution remains the only way to a “just and lasting peace,” and warned “that future is now in jeopardy.”
He said the U.S. could not “in good conscience” stand in the way of a resolution he said makes clear “both sides must act now to preserve the possibility of peace.”
“Friends need to tell each other the hard truths, and friendships require mutual respect,” Kerry said. He said the U.S. “did in fact vote in accordance with our values.”
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