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Peter King to Newsmax: Kerry's Israeli Speech 'Evens the Score' With Netanyahu

Image: Peter King to Newsmax: Kerry's Israeli Speech 'Evens the Score' With Netanyahu

John Kerry (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 05:00 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry's speech Wednesday calling for a two-state solution in Israel came under immediate attack from Republicans, with Rep. Peter King telling Newsmax that Kerry "suggested a moral equivalent as if Israeli settlements are as evil as the murder and terrorism carried out by the Palestinians."

"He ignored the many efforts Israel has made over the years to negotiate and work with the Palestinians," the New York Republican said. "It was a terrible speech to give, especially in the closing days of the Obama administration."

"I think a lot of this is just evening the score with Bibi Netanyahu," King told Newsmax, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "They're still angry at him for giving the speech to Congress."

Netanyahu spoke to Congress in March 2015, urging legislators to reject the pending Iran nuclear deal.

The move by then-House Speaker John Boehner incensed the Obama administration, and Vice President Joe Biden boycotted the session.

"That really epitomized the feelings between Netanyahu and the Obama administration," King told Newsmax, "but going back to early 2009, talking to high-ranking people in the Obama administration, and them telling me how they were basically going to stand up to Netanyahu.

"They showed an anger even then toward Netanyahu.

"They looked upon him as an impediment to their policy in the Middle East as continued through the eight years," King said. "It's shameful the way they have acted."

In a 70-minute speech seen as a parting shot to Israel, Secretary Kerry tore into the Jewish state for settlement-building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and called for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

He accused Netanyahu of dragging Israel away from democracy and forcefully rejecting the notion America had abandoned Israel by abstaining on last week's controversial U.N. vote.

"If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both, and it won't ever really be at peace," Kerry said. "The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel.

"And their stated purpose is clear: They believe in one state."

Kerry also slammed Netanyahu's government as "the most right-wing in Israeli history."

The speech marked a comprehensive airing of grievances that have built up in the Obama administration over eight years but were rarely, until this month, discussed publicly.

Netanyahu immediately fired back, declaring the secretary's speech was "almost as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed at the U.N.

"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," he said.

"What he did was to spend most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace by passionately condemning a policy of enabling Jews to live in their historic homeland and in their eternal capital, Jerusalem.

"Israelis don't need to be lectured about the importance of peace by foreign leaders," Netanyahu continued. "Israel's hand has been extended in peace to its neighbors from day one from its very first day.

"We pray for peace. We've worked for it every day since then."

Kerry's move came on the heels of the Obama administration's abstention last Friday on a U.N. Security Council vote condemning the Israeli settlements as a violation of international law.

Israel was furious — and Netanyahu claimed Wednesday his administration had "absolute, indispensable evidence" the U.S. actually spearheaded the resolution.

The prime minister offered what he called proof of U.S. collusion: a document, leaked to an Egyptian newspaper, which purported to be a Palestinian account of a December meeting between top U.S. and Palestinian officials.

But White House spokesman Ned Price called it a "total fabrication," adding "this meeting never occurred."

Other Republicans were just as outraged with Kerry's speech.

President-elect Donald Trump said on Twitter:

Arizona Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, characterized the diplomat's speech "at best a pointless tirade in the waning days of an outgoing administration.

"At worst, it was another dangerous outburst that will further Israel's diplomatic isolation and embolden its enemies.

"Public lectures against Israel and U.N. resolutions attacking Israel do not aid the cause of peace," McCain said. "They only provide those seeking Israel's destruction a convenient excuse to blame Israel for their own intransigence."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he now was "weary of plans and proposals that are at best fanciful and worse delusional.

"Given the current state of discord and dysfunction among the Palestinians, a two-state solution is impossible until fundamental change occurs in Palestine," Graham said. "What John Kerry fails to appreciate, is that the Palestinians are in complete disarray when it comes to acting like a state."

Graham is among many Republicans calling for the United States to end federal funding for the United Nations until it revokes the settlement resolution.

The global organization receives 22 percent of its annual budget from the U.S.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called the speech a "shameful undermining of our moral standing in the world" that "should be a warning to administrations for decades to come about the consequences of America abandoning our values.

"When we fail to take a stand against those that seek to deny Israel's right to exist or try to question the Jewish history of Jerusalem, we hurt not just Israel but our own credibility," he said on Facebook.

South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson said Kerry's "disastrous speech" revealed "willful ignorance putting Israeli and American families at risk of more terrorist attacks."

Wilson noted Trump planned to nominate South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador.

He said the choice was "more important than ever to stand strong with Israel for peace and democracy."

Other Republicans tweeted their anger:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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John Kerry's speech calling for a two-state solution in Israel came under immediate attack, with Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., telling Newsmax that Kerry "suggested a moral equivalent as if Israeli settlements are as evil as the murder and terrorism carried out by the Palestinians."
Benjamin Netanyahu, John Kerry, speech, Palestinians
Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 05:00 PM
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