(AP) JERUSALEM – A senior Israeli Cabinet minister on Wednesday called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's planned Mideast policy speech a "pathetic step," further heightening tensions between the two close allies as the Obama administration prepares to leave office.
The comments by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan were the latest salvo in a toxic exchange following the U.S.'s refusal to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution last week that called Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem a violation of international law. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed the resolution, and accused the U.S. of colluding with the Palestinians in drawing it up.
Following up on the U.N. resolution, Kerry was scheduled to deliver a farewell speech in Washington on Wednesday to outline his proposals for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
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