US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas during peace negotiations in December 2013. (Photo: Issam Rimawi / Flash90) US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during peace negotiations. (Photo: Issam Rimawi / Flash90)
peace negotiations


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday contradicted Israel’s position that the Palestinian Authority must recognize Israel as the Jewish state in order to move the peace process forward.

On Thursday – following similar statements by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki several days ago– American Secretary of State John Kerry, who is leading the Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace negotiations, opposed Israel’s oft-stated position that in order to advance the peace process, the PA must recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

“I think it’s a mistake for some people to be, you know, raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state and peace, and we’ve obviously made that clear,” Kerry told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The statement was not a complete surprise; on Saturday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds:

“The American position is clear; Israel is a Jewish state. However, we do not see a need that both sides recognize this position as part of the final agreement.”

The previous day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the Israeli stand in an interview with Channel 10 News, saying:

“I am ready to proceed [with the peace negotiations]. I am ready to reach the end of the conflict but it must be the end of the conflict. We won’t allow the establishment of a Palestinian state so that it will continue the conflict, it needs to recognize the state of the Jews just like they are demanding from us that we recognize the state of the Palestinians.”

Thus Kerry’s most recent statement clarified the U.S. position in opposition to that of Israel.

“If you look at the issue of a Jewish state and whether Israel will be called a Jewish state, that’s been our position, as you know, for a long time, but that doesn’t reflect what the parties will agree to… and of course there are many issues like that that are being discussed as part of the framework,” Psaki added.


Visiting Israel and the PA-administered territories this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed with Jerusalem’s position.

The British leader declared his “rock-solid commitment” to Israel’s security and supported Netanyahu’s demand that the PA recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, adding:

“No more excuses for the 32 countries in the United Nations who refuse to recognize Israel.”

Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer, United with Israel
Date: Mar. 14, 2014