Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday the United States had made “no determinations” about any possible U.N. Security Council resolutions on Palestinian statehood.
Later in the day, however, he stipulated that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could not be decided by anyone on the outside, but must be desired by both parties.
At about the same time, in Washington, State Department
spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the U.S. opposed pre-determining the outcome of the peace process and that a time table for the removal of security forces constituted a unilateral action.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he had sought reassurances from Kerry that Washington would block efforts by Palestinians and Europeans to set a time frame for Palestinian statehood.
Jordan has circulated a Palestinian-drafted resolution to the 15-member council calling for Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian land to end by November 2016.
“We’ve made no determinations about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that,” Kerry told reporters during a visit to London.
“This isn’t the time to detail private conversations or speculate on a U.N. Security Council resolution that hasn’t even been tabled no matter what pronouncements are made publicly about it.”
He said they were mindful they had to “carefully calibrate” any steps that were taken and it was “imperative to lower the temperature” in the region to find a path for peace wanted by both Israelis and Palestinians.
“The status quo is unsustainable for both parties,” he said. “Right now what we are trying to do is have a constructive conversation with everybody to find the best way to go forward.”
In Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday took European countries to task for backing unilateral Palestinian steps at the U.N. and elsewhere, and said that Israel would not accept diktats from the Palestinians.
“European countries that cooperate with the Palestinians in these steps can be likened to a person who brings a match to someone else holding flammable material,” he said. “They are not helping anyone, and are only acting out of their own political and domestic interests.”
Lieberman warned that Palestinian unilateral steps will be met by Israeli ones “both on the ground, and in the international arena,” though he did not elaborate.
In what was interpreted as a swipe at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, now a rival in the election campaign, Lieberman said:
“We cannot sit with folded arms and only say why we are opposed. The lack of an Israeli initiative will further lead to a deterioration in Israel’s standing internationally, hurt our relations with our friends in the west, and will not make it possible for us to stand firmly on those things important for us. Standing in place is dangerous for Israel.”
In a note of sarcasm, he said that while Israeli politicians were pre-occupied with such “fateful” questions as who will join up with whom, “the world is not waiting for us and is moving foreword with processes that endanger us.”