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Kerry Outlines Plan For Middle East Peace In Farewell Speech; Netanyahu Fires Back

Secretary of State John Kerry outlined a vision for how peace in the Middle East can be achieved in a farewell speech in Washington on Wednesday. The speech comes less than a week after the U.S. abstained from a U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, angering Israel.

Kerry defended the move, saying the U.S. couldn’t “stand in the way of a resolution at the United Nations that makes it clear that both sides must act now to preserve the possibility of peace.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Kerry’s speech a “great disappointment.”

In live broadcast on Israeli TV, Netanyahu criticized Kerry for a speech highly critical of Israel at a time when he said the region is “going up in flames.”

Netanyahu in Hebrew said: “For a full hour, the secretary of state attacked the only democracy in the Middle East.”

He accused Kerry of focusing heavily on Israeli settlements, while paying little attention to Palestinian incitement and violence.

Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti talks with NPR’s Greg Myre ( @gregmyre1) about the speech, Netanyahu’s reaction and the Obama administration’s legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With reporting from The Associated Press

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks on the fighting in Syria on Dec. 15, 2016 at the State Department in Washington. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
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US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks on the fighting in Syria on Dec. 15, 2016 at the State Department in Washington. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)