Vice President Joe Biden issued strong words of condemnation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an address to the progressive Israeli advocacy group, J Street, saying the Jewish leader has moved the country “in the wrong direction,” away from peace with the Palestinians and toward security instability.
Biden first noted the “damaging moves” of Palestinians to achieve International Criminal Court affiliation a few months ago, as well as their failure to denounce attacks against Israel, the Hill reported.
But he then turned critical eyes to Netanyahu and spoke of the leader’s “counterproductive” actions in recent times.
“Settlement policies are hurting support for Israel and moving us further away from a two-state solution,” he said, the Hill reported. “I firmly believe that the action Israel’s government has taken over the past several years – the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures – they’re moving us, and more important, they’re moving Israel, in the wrong direction. They’re moving us toward a one-state reality, and that reality is dangerous.”
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Biden said he didn’t have much optimism for a two-state solution to come to fruition any time soon.
“I’m sorry to say I didn’t come away from my recent meetings with either Prime Minister Netanyahu or [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas feeling encouraged by the prospects of peace in the immediate future,” Biden said, the Hill reported. “There is, at the moment, no political will that I observed among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward with serious negotiations.”
Just before Biden spoke, Secretary of State John Kerry took the stage and told the same crowd: “For these next nine months, we will not stop working” for a two-state solution.