Monday, 28 April 2014

Israel risks becoming apartheid state if peace talks fail, says John Kerry


The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has warned in a closed-door meeting that Israel risks becoming an "apartheid state" if US-sponsored efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement fail.

In an apparent sign of Kerry's deep frustration over the almost certain collapse of the current nine-month round of peace talks – due to conclude on Tuesday – he blamed both sides for the lack of progress and said failure could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens.

The remarks were made on Friday at the Trilateral Commission, a non-governmental organisation of experts and officials from the US, western Europe, Russia and Japan. A recording was acquired by the Daily Beast website.

Kerry also suggested that a change of either Israeli or Palestinian leadership might create more favourable conditions for peace and the final, long-delayed agreement on the shape of a Palestinian state.

Kerry's remarks represent a significant departure, as senior US officials historically have avoided the word "apartheid" relating to Israeli policies. It is believed to be the first time a US official of Kerry's standing has used the contentious term in the context of Israel, even if only as a warning for the future. more

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