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PRICE STATEMENT ON SECRETARY KERRY ISRAEL REMARKS

December 29, 2016
Press Release

Washington -- Congressman David E. Price (NC-04) released the following statement responding to Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Secretary of State John Kerry’s address both reaffirmed our nation’s historical commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reflected just how endangered this possibility has become.

"The vision of two states for the Israeli and Palestinian people, living side-by-side in peace and security, has been the foundation of a bipartisan consensus that has guided U.S. policy toward the Middle East for generations.  The tenets of this consensus, upheld by broad majorities of Congress and by presidents of both parties, have included support for Israel’s qualitative military advantage, advocacy on Israel’s behalf against biased attacks in international organizations, and support for moderate and effective Palestinian institutions.  They have also included the condemnation of actions by either side that diminish the prospects for peace—especially the incitement of violence by Palestinians and illegal settlement activity by Israelis.

"Yet today the vision of a two-state solution faces an existential threat.  This is not an ideological statement but a factual one:  with continued settlement construction on the West Bank, the day will soon come when it will be impossible to divide the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River into two viable states, and Israel will be forced to choose between its Jewish identity and its democratic character.  Leaders of Israel’s political right, joined by some in the United States who claim to be Israel’s most ardent defenders, appear to have given up on the two-state solution already.  But majorities of Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans have not, and nor should our nation’s leaders.

"In this context, Secretary Kerry’s speech offered a powerful defense of the bipartisan consensus that has guided U.S. policy for decades.  Of course the final terms of a peace agreement must be negotiated directly by Israelis and Palestinians—but that does not preclude the United States, as Israel’s closest friend and ally, from articulating non-binding parameters for what such an agreement could look like.  In doing so, the Obama Administration demonstrated the type of international leadership called for in the resolution I coauthored with Rep. John Yarmuth and 62 other colleagues (H. Res. 686), earlier this year.

"As Secretary Kerry emphasized, true friendships require mutual respect and, occasionally, hard truths.  His remarks should be a call to action for all who support the vision laid out by Israel’s founders of a democratic state in the homeland of the Jewish people."

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