12/29/2016, 09.56
ISRAEL - PALESTINE - USA
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Rift deepens between (outgoing) US administration and Israel over settlements

Kerry said in his last speech that the two-state solution "is the only way to peace." And the settlements are "a threat". Netanyahu replies: "prejudiced" speech and "unbalanced words ". President elect Trump on Twitter: "Israel hold on." The Jerusalem municipality has postponed the vote for the go-ahead for 492 new homes in the east. 

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The rift between the leadership of the Israeli government and the Obama administration in the United States, now close to the end of its mandate, is becoming increasingly deep. A relationship that had already began to show cracks in recent months and which reached its peak last week, when Washington did not oppose a UN Security Council resolution condemning the colonial policy of Israel in the Occupied Territories.

In his last speech as US Secretary of State John Kerry he said that "the two-state solution is the only way to peace in the Middle East". The settlements, he added, "pose a threat".

The outgoing head of US diplomacy did not spare criticism of the Israeli government – which heretofore has always been a historical ally of the White House in the region - "the most rightwing of all time" and proponent of expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The UN condemnation of settlements, concluded Kerry, is "consistent with American values."

In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – under judiciary investigation for suspected corruption and fraud - condemned the Kerry speech calling it "biased". According to the Israeli leader the words of the head of US diplomacy were "unbalanced" and "obsessively focused" on settlements.

According to Netanyahu, the US government has made a "service to the incessant Palestinian terror campaign" against Israel and fueled the Palestinian position that refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. "Quite simply - he concluded - Kerry does not see the reality of the facts."

US president-elect Donald Trump immediately came out in defense of Israel, entrusting his position on the matter to twitter. Trump recalled the "great friendship" between Israel and the United States and added that "Israel cannot be treated with such contempt and disdain". Finally, he called on the authorities in Israel to hold on because "January 20 [the date of his inauguration] comes soon." The reply, again via tweet, Netanyahu thanked Trump for "warm friendship and the clear support."

Also yesterday, a few hours ahead of the beginning of Kerry's speech, on request of Prime Minister Netanyahu the Jerusalem municipality postponed the vote on granting building permits for 492 new homes in East Jerusalem. December 23 the UN Security Council condemnation referred directly to this latest proposal.

Under the Netanyahu government there has been a considerable increase in Israeli settlements. In 2015 at least 15 thousand new settlers have moved into the West Bank.

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