Israel's Danon: Kerry's 'Apartheid' Comment 'Unacceptable'

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 05:30 PM

By Joe Battaglia

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A leading Israeli official says he "regrets" comments by Secretary of State John Kerry characterizing his country as running the risk of becoming an "apartheid" state if it fails to make peace with the Palestinians.

On Sunday, The Daily Beast reported that Kerry told a group of senior international officials behind closed doors that "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."

Danny Danon, the Israeli deputy minister of defense, told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that he considered Kerry's statement to be one of frustration with the turn that long-running peace negotiations took when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas struck an accord with the terrorist organization Hamas last week.

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The statement, however, was "unacceptable," he said.

"Secretary Kerry is disappointed," Danon said. "He had expectations, he worked very hard. But we are used to that in the Middle East, to expect the unexpected, and you cannot impose your wishful thinking on the Palestinians or Hamas, and that's what happened, so maybe now he's frustrated, and his term used is inappropriate.

"He knows that there's other options, as well, and we have other choices, that it was not the wording I would use to [describe] your best ally in the Middle East."

Danon said that despite Kerry's statement, he feels Israel has strong U.S. support.

"I can tell you that I am very involved with the American people, and I know that we do have the support from the American people," Danon said. "We have the support of the Congress and Senate.

"Sometimes we have disagreements with the administration or with some people in the administration, but I know the American people understand that we are working together, we do share the same values, and what we saw in the last few weeks that even if we have goodwill, it is not enough to promote peace in the Middle East."

When asked specifically by Hayworth whether he felt he had the support of President Barack Obama and Kerry, Danon was more diplomatic.

"I am not in the position of giving grades," he said, "but I can tell you we do have a lot of cooperation with the American people, the American military, and with the administration."

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