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Netanyahu rejects Kerry’s warning of binational state

Netanyahu: ‘Israel will not be a binational state, but in order to have peace, the other side needs to decide that it wants peace as well’

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Israel’s prime minister insists his country is not heading toward becoming a binational state, rejecting a warning to that effect by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

At his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu says “Israel will not be a binational state, but in order to have peace, the other side needs to decide that it wants peace as well.”

Kerry warned Saturday about the dangers of the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

He told a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington that if that were to happen, Israel would have to assume full governance of the West Bank, potentially leading to a one-state solution that would endanger Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.

He also said Israeli leaders should not allow the Palestinian Authority to disintegrate.

If that were to happen, Kerry said, Israel would be forced to assume all governance in the West Bank and potentially accept a one-state solution that would compromise Israel's future as a democratic, Jewish state.

While condemning the recent surge in anti-Israel violence by Palestinians, Kerry said calls from some Israeli politicians to let Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ administration wither are counter-productive and self-defeating for Israel.

Kerry lamented the fact that Israel continues to approve new construction in Jewish settlements in areas that the Palestinians claim as part of a future state while denying construction permits for Palestinian projects on territory that would be subject to negotiation in an eventual peace deal.

He urged both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to recommit to the concept of a negotiated two-state solution in order to give both peoples, but particularly the Palestinians, hope that a resolution to the long-running conflict is at least possible.

He noted that during a recent trip to Ramallah, Abbas had told him that the level of Palestinian despair about the future was inevitable. At the same time, Kerry said the Palestinian leadership must do more to clamp down on and end incitement against Israel and Israelis.

Kerry said both sides need to take urgent steps to renew a dialogue.

“If you are not sitting down, if all you are doing is hurling invective at each other on a daily basis, there is no prayer of beginning that kind of conversation,” he said. “That’s the problem today.”