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John Kerry Photo: Reuters
John Kerry Photo: Reuters
President Barack Obama Photo: AP
President Barack Obama Photo: AP

Kerry: Obama wasted time on settlement freeze

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry slams US president's 'wrong approach' to Israeli-Palestinian peace process

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 04.13.11, 17:25 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry (D), slammed Wednesday President Barack Obama's efforts to advance the Mideast peace process, saying he adopted "the wrong approach."


Speaking at a Brookings' Saban Center for Middle East Policy conference, Kerry blamed Obama for "wasting" more that half of his presidential term by publicly demanding that Israel suspend all settlement expansion.


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Kerry, who has a 2004 presidential bid under his belt, served as a special envoy for the Obama Administration to Syria and Afghanistan. The senator explained his opposition to Obama's policy, saying he believes a plan involving public pressure was doomed to fail, and "unachievable."


He went on to say that the American president's choice of action was the same as "putting the cart before the horses," adding the key to  resolving the issue was reaching an agreement that clearly addresses security issues and borders. Kerry qualified his words, saying he did not believe this could be achieved at this point in time.


Still, the Democratic senator added he had every faith that Washington would soon try to reignite the stalled peace process, likely during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to DC next month.


Kerry added Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are likely to actively partake in the process and will do what they can to advance it before September – and the scheduled meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.


The Palestinians intend to bring before the Assembly a proposal calling for UN recognition of a Palestinian state win line with the 1967 borders.


Kerry added that he believed the Palestinian effort to unilaterally push the issue was "a mistake." He further warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that such a move would be perilous.


The US, he concluded, will make a true effort to stop things from spinning out of control.


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