Tags: Israel | ben rhodes | john kerry | speech | justification | terrorism

WH Aide Ben Rhodes on Kerry's Speech: 'No Justification for Terrorism'

Image: WH Aide Ben Rhodes on Kerry's Speech: 'No Justification for Terrorism'

John Kerry (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 05:35 PM

White House aide Ben Rhodes Wednesday defended Secretary of State John Kerry's speech slamming Israeli settlements and denied that the secretary of state equated the communities with terrorism carried out by Hamas and other groups.

"There is no moral equivalence," Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, told Jake Tapper on CNN. "There is no justification for terrorism.

"No settlement construction should ever justify terrorism or incitement to terrorism," he added. "There is no question on that."

Kerry ripped Israel in a 70-minute speech at the State Department — and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately charged that his comments were biased against Israel.

"Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been waged by the Palestinians against the Jewish state for nearly a century," the prime minister said.

Rhodes vehemently disputed Netanyahu's assessment.

"Secretary Kerry condemned incitement, condemned violence," he said. "This is not a question of whether or not we've called out Palestinian sectarianism. We have.

"The problem with the settlements that people need to understand is that this is building deep inside of the West Bank.

"These are not just housing settlements," Rhodes continued. "This is construction that is taking place on Palestinian land, on what anybody who has looked at this issue understands to be a future Palestinian state.

"If it's in America's interests to pursue a two-state solution, why should we be silent when there are policies being pursued that make a two-state solution impossible?"

Rhodes also defended the Obama administration's abstention Friday on a U.N. Security Council vote condemning the activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and denied any U.S. role in the proposal put forth by Egypt.

"We never told anybody how we would vote on the text of the resolution, because we didn't know what the text would be until it was introduced by the Egyptians," he told Tapper. "We had not communicated how we would vote.

"We did not draft it. We didn't know what the text would be until it was put forward.

"We abstained because we believed it was the right thing," Rhodes said. "We're willing to defend our abstaining on the resolution."

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White House aide Ben Rhodes Wednesday defended Secretary of State John Kerry's speech slamming Israeli settlements and denied that the secretary of state equated the communities with terrorism carried out by Hamas and other groups.
ben rhodes, john kerry, speech, justification, terrorism
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2016-35-28
Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 05:35 PM
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