WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that in the absence of a two-state solution, Israel risks becoming an apartheid state, The Daily Beast, an American news reporting and opinion website, said in a dispatch on Monday.
Kerry reportedly made the remarks on Friday to the Trilateral Commission in a closed-door meeting, a recording of which was obtained by The Daily Beast. The commission was formed in 1973 by private citizens of Japan, Europe and North America to foster closer cooperation between these regions.
“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative,” Kerry told the gathering. “Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state. Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”
According to the Daily Beast, Kerry also panned Israeli settlement building, said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders shared blame for the stalled peace talks, and indicated that a change in leadership on one or both sides could help the parties reach an agreement. The top US diplomat said he might decide to present both sides with a “take it or leave it” peace deal.
The Daily Beast said that senior US officials have rarely used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel. Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the US State Department, was quoted as saying: “Secretary Kerry, like Justice Minister Livni, and previous Israeli Prime Ministers Olmert and Barak, was reiterating why there’s no such thing as a one state solution if you believe, as he does, in the principle of a Jewish State.”
“[Kerry] was talking about the kind of future Israel wants and the kind of future both Israelis and Palestinians would want to envision.
The only way to have two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution. And without a two state solution, the level of prosperity and security the Israeli and Palestinian people deserve isn’t possible,” she added.
Kerry has been conducting more than a year of intensive shuttle diplomacy trying to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Earlier in April, he urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to prevent the negotiations from collapsing, saying it was regrettable that both sides have taken steps recently that are not helpful in promoting peace and ending the decades-long conflict between the two sides.
The “crime of apartheid” include “inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime,” according to the 1998 Rome Statute.
Apartheid was insitutionalised from 1948 to 1994 in South Africa, and was a means of racial classification and segregration.