United States Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a speech Wednesday addressing the United States somewhat controversial decision to abstain from a United Nations vote last week that condemned Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. It was considered controversial by critics who felt the U.S. had the obligation to support its ally Israel.
The speech Wednesday from Kerry was long and wide-ranging, touching on the policy of President Barack Obama's administration, while placing it in context with past presidential administrations. Kerry discussed at length the so-called two-state solution, which he promoted as the real path toward peace in the conflict-torn region.
Listed below are five key quotes from Kerry's speech:
1. On the one-state solution
"If Israel goes down the one state path, they will never have true peace with the rest of the Arab world. I can say that with certainty."
2. On the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
"The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements... The result is that policies of this government — which the prime minister himself just described as 'more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history' — are leading in the opposite direction, towards one state."
3. On the U.S. abstaining from the vote on the settler movement
"In the end, we could not in good conscience protect the most extreme elements of the settler movement as it tries to destroy the two-state solution. We could not in good conscience turn a blind eye to Palestinian actions that fan hatred and violence. It is not in U.S. interest to help anyone on either side create a unitary state."
4. On the U.S.' relationship with Israel
"Friends need to tell each other the hard truths, and friendships require mutual respect."
5. On claims that the U.S. was behind the U.N. vote condemning the settlements
"The Egyptians and Palestinians have long made clear their intention to bring this resolution to vote before end of year. The U.S. did not draft or introduce this legislation."