Netanyahu responds to Kerry: ‘Israel will not be a binational state’

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — “Israel will not be a binational state,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s warning that Israel is moving toward a one-state situation with the Palestinians.

“”I would like to make it clear – Israel will not be a binational state. But in order for there to be peace, the other side needs to decide that it also wants peace. To my regret, this is not what we see,” Netanyahu said Sunday morning at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

John Kerry questioned Israel’s commitment to coming to a resolution with the Palestinians and wondered how it maintains its character as a Jewish democratic state while denying rights to the Palestinians, such as building permits, during a speech Saturday at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C.

Kerry also criticized incendiary rhetoric on the part of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and criticized Palestinian incitement during his speech to the gathering of Israeli and American leaders, sponsored by Israeli American entertainment mogul Haim Saban and convened by the Brookings Institution.

“I see the senior Palestinian official in charge of the negotiations going to console the family of a terrorist who tried to murder Jews. Not only does he not condemn it, he goes to offer condolences and thereby gives backing and encouragement to acts of terrorism,” Netanyahu also said Sunday, referring to chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekeat, who the previous day paid a condolence call to the family of P.A. intelligence officer Mazen Aribah, who was killed by Israeli security sources after he shot two Israeli men at the Hizme checkpoint north of Jerusalem.

“Whoever wants peace needs to condemn these things unequivocally, just as I am doing here,” he said.

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