More to come as Secretary of State John Kerry is about to unleash his outline for a peaceful settlement of the Israëli occupation of Palestinian land.

Update-3 :: Secretary John Kerry [VIDEO]

    Settlements are not the cause of the
    conflict, but no one can ignore the
    reality of the threat they pose to peace.

    — Secretary @JohnKerry

Update-2 :: Kerry: ‘The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel

An historically right-wing government in Israel is pushing their nation toward annexation of the West Bank, intentionally eroding the viability of a Palestinian state through its settlement enterprise with the goal of creating a “permanent one-state reality,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

In a speech billed by US officials as the secretary’s comprehensive vision for peace between the two peoples, Kerry spoke for over an hour from the State Department of his commitment to Israel’s long-term security as a Jewish and democratic state. As he has stated in the past, Kerry warned that the future is in grave jeopardy.

“There really is no viable alternative,” Kerry said. “We can only encourage them to take this path. We cannot walk down it for them.”

“The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel,” he declared. “Separate and unequal is what you would have, and no one can explain how that works.”

He specifically criticized a bill under consideration in the Knesset that would effectively legalize settlement outposts in the West Bank, applying Israeli civilian law in the territory for the first time— a “major step toward annexation,” he warned.

He slammed Israel’s approval of settlements closer to the Jordanian border than to its own, and the government’s failure to offer the PA reciprocal rights to build on land that, under any scheme, would be Palestinian territory under a two-state solution.

Fearing reprisals, Israel delays vote on building permits in eastern Jerusalem | Ynet News |

Update-1 :: changed link from Australian website to The Guardian …

Netanyahu blasts New Zealand for backing UN vote | The Guardian |

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully to warn him a UN resolution co-sponsored by the country was a “declaration of war”, according to a leading Israeli newspaper.

The Israeli daily Haaretz, citing unnamed Western diplomats, reported that a “harsh” phone call took place between Mr Netanyahu and Mr McCully on the day of the vote. “This is a scandalous decision. I’m asking that you not support it and not promote it,” Mr Netanyahu reportedly told Mr McCully.

    Netanyahu’s phone call to McCully was almost his last attempt to prevent the vote, or at least to postpone it and buy a little time. Western diplomats say the conversation was harsh and very tense and Netanyahu let loose with sharp threats, perhaps unprecedented in relations between Israel and another Western country.

    “This is a scandalous decision. I’m asking that you not support it and not promote it,” Netanyahu told McCully, according to the Western diplomats, who asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of the matter. “If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We’ll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem.” McCully refused to back down from the vote. “This resolution conforms to our policy and we will move it forward,” he told Netanyahu.

     « click for more info
    PM Netanyahu with New Zealand FM McCully. Photo: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom

    Just one month earlier, when McCully visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, he found the latter an entirely different man. Netanyahu was pleasant, friendly and overflowing with warmth. He showed McCully the famous PowerPoint presentation that he had shown in a round of background briefings for the media last summer. Laser pointer in hand, Netanyahu told McCully that Israel was expanding its foreign relations, breaking through in the region and making friends in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Israel has withdrawn its ambassador to New Zealand, Itzhak Gerberg, and barred New Zealand’s ambassador to Israel. Mr Gerberg will meet Mr Netanyahu today to discuss whether further sanctions against New Zealand are appropriate.

New Zealand was the only Western nation to co-sponsor the UN resolution, with Senegal, Malaysia, and Venezuela.  

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