World Bulletin / News Desk
The US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state if peace talks with the Palestinians fail.
"A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state," Kerry said.
"Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to," he added.
The statement, a recording of which was obtained by the Daily Beast, is the first time a US official has used such language against Israeli politics in comparison with the decades of oppressive rule in South Africa.
However, it is not the first time Kerry has been at odds with Israel during the process. In January Israel official Moshe Ya'alon described Kerry as "obsessive and messianic" in his approach to the talks.
William Kristol, the neo-conservative chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, wasted no time in calling on Kerry to step down from his role as mediator. "It is time for John Kerry to step down as secretary of state, or for President Obama to fire him," he said.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quick to intervene, saying "[Kerry] was talking about the kind of future Israel wants and the kind of future both Israelis and Palestinians would want to envision. The only way to have two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution. And without a two-state solution, the level of prosperity and security the Israeli and Palestinian people deserve isn't possible."
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled out of the US-sponsored nine-month peace talks with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas after the latter's Fatah-led West Bank government agreed terms with the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli authorities accuse Abbas of betraying the peace talks be forming a coalition with Hamas, who Israel blames for a number of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. Abbas, on the other hand, argues that he only turned to reconcile with Hamas because of Israel's failure to abide by agreements to release Palestinian prisoners, and insisted that he is still open to talks.Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2014, 17:26