US Secretary of state John Kerry has used a farewell speech to blast Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for pulling Israel away from democracy on the continuing and escalating row over the building of illegal settlements by the government. The outgoing Secretary of state under the Obama administration has been caught up in the furore caused by last weeks failure of the US to veto a resolution aimed against Israel.
He also forcefully rejected the idea that the US had tried to pin the blame on the PM for the failure of the countries to find a lasting and peaceful solution to the decades long problems between Israel and Palestine. He also refuted the accusation that the US had deserted Israel at the United nations over the US choosing not to veto the resolution against Israel and the continued settlement building.
Kerry surprised many with his speech, as it appears that diplomatic relations between the two countries had diminished rapidly over the past few days as Netanyahu has turned insular in order to make it appear that the failure to veto was a direct attack on Israel.
In the meantime both Netanyahu and President elect Donald Trump have been talking up the possibility of a brighter future for the two countries, as the two men are seemingly more politically aligned. It’s no secret that Obama and Netanyahu didn’t see eye to eye. Trump has been highly vocal on the subject of Israel and how he sees their role with the US in the middle east. He has spoken of a very different relationship after his inauguration in January. Whilst his opinions on settlement building are unclear, Obama was very clear in that he felt that the continued programme of illegal settlement building was a barrier to peace in the ongoing conflict with Palestine. A charge that Netanyahu vehemently denies and accuses Palestine of denying the Jews a right to Israel. Trump even went as far as to announce his intention to move the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem in a highly controversial move, as Palestine claim Jerusalem as their capital. It would certainly clearly highlight Trump’s dedication to Israel.
In the end Kerry’s speech is likely to bear little on the future relations of the two nations. But his candour on the subject is a surprise to many, as it seems that the Obama administration hasn’t had the easiest ride in trying to secure a lasting peace in the middle east.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.