Kerry: Israel Must Enter Multilateral Talks

by Dimitrios Halikias

Speaking yesterday before the American Jewish Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that part of the reason for continued terrorism and violence against Israel is that the country has acted unilaterally in making gestures toward peace. 

Discussing the continued missile attacks on Israel following its withdrawals from Gaza and Lebanon, Kerry said, “well, folks, it’s worth remembering these withdrawals were unilateral. They were not part of a negotiated peace treaty that included strong guarantees for Israel’s security, and they certainly weren’t part of a peace agreement that agrees to be a demilitarized state or entity.”

Israel’s dramatic evacuation of Gaza in 2005 was widely seen as a critical step toward establishing a Palestinian state. Kerry’s implication, however, is that Israel’s policies have been ineffectual because Israel failed to work and negotiate with other parties. He praised other multilateral agreements, pointing to Israel’s successful peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.

Kerry argued that the Palestinian side is ready to negotiate, suggesting that Israel must be similarly prepared to make compromises. “The Arab League came here to Washington, and they’ve just shown that they are ready to take steps forward, because they reaffirmed the Arab Peace Initiative, but they did so differently than ever before,” he said. ”They added that it will have land swaps for the first time.”

The secretary of state reiterated America’s support for Israel and its opposition to Palestinian statehood, but warned of diminishing international support for Israel’s position.

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