Secretary of State John Kerry says that Israeli and Palestinian leaders are facing “important decisons” and the U.S. hopes they make choices that will “advance the prospects for lasting peace.”
He also warned that the current violence could “spin out of control” unless they take immediate steps to ease tensions.
Kerry — just back in the United States after visiting Israel for the first time in more than a year — says the U.S. is pressing both sides to show a “genuine commitment” to a two-state peace solution.
He told reporters after landing in Boston on Wednesday that the situation is close to reaching “a pivotal point.”
Meanwhile, tensions emerged again over diverging Israeli and American viewpoints concerning the future of Yehudah and Shomron.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly called in his meeting with Kerry Tuesday for the recognition of some existing Israeli communities in the region in exchange for steps to ease tensions with the Palestinians.
In Washington, without confirming Netanyahu’s demand, State Department spokesman Mark Toner categorically rejected it.
“I can be very clear that we’re not changing — again, we’re not changing — the decades-old U.S. policy regarding settlements,” Toner said. “Every U.S. administration since 1967, Democrat and Republican alike, has opposed Israeli settlement activity beyond the 1967 lines, and this Administration’s been no different and will be no different,” he said.