Kerry says US embassy relocation would cause 'explosion in the region'
Speaking to CBS News, the outgoing US secretary of state repeats his insistence that his country remain involved in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the goal of which must remain two states; he emphasizes the demographic incongruity with a Jewish and democratic unitary state; President-elect Donald Trump's plan to relocate the embassy would damage existing peace accords, Kerry warns.
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that President-elect Donald Trump's realizing his promise to relocate the American embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would cause "an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region," in an interview with CBS News on Friday.
Kerry's response when asked about the issue by the network's National Security Correspondent David Martin continued, "If all of a sudden, Jerusalem is declared to be the location of our embassy, that has issues of sovereignty, issues of law that would deem to be affected by that move and by the United States acquiescing in that move and that would have profound impact on the readiness of Jordan and Egypt to be able to be supportive and engaged with Israel as they are today."
In his farewell speech to the State Department at the end of December, Kerry spoke at length about President Barack Obama's administration's parameters for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The six-part outline insisted adamantly on a two-state solution, for which Kerry claimed there was "no alternative."
Kerry's speech was swiftly condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that America's top diplomat had "attacked the only democracy in the Middle East." Netanyahu held that direct negotiations were the only way to achieve peace, as Israel had successfully managed in the past in forging accords with both Egypt and Jordan.
In his interview with CBS, Kerry repeated his conviction that his country must continue to support the peace process towards a two-state solution and warned of repercussions if it did not.
"I think that would be extraordinarily dangerous for Israel, our friend," he said. "The simple reality is you cannot be unitary—one state—with more non-Jews than Jews and remain a democracy or a Jewish state. It’s impossible. You can’t do it."
Also on Friday, the Palestinian Authority dubbed Trump's plan to relocate the embassy "a declaration of war on Muslims." Under a month ago, Counselor to the President-designate Kellyanne Conway stated that the embassy move was "a top priority" for the incoming US administration.