US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in recent weeks that Israel may be confronted with an international deligitimization campaign "on steroids" if renewed peace talks with the Palestinians fail to bear fruit, journalist Jeffery Goldberg reported on Tuesday in his Bloomberg View column.
Goldberg quoted anonymous officials as saying Kerry believes that Netanyahu fears deligitimization to the same degree that he fears Iran's nuclear program.
Netanyahu is not only concerned that the delegitimization campaign could hurt Israel's economy through boycotts, "he is said to be even more worried that this campaign will erode Israel's ability to defend itself," according to Goldberg.
Speaking on Monday ahead of peace talks set to take place in Jerusalem this week, Kerry said that Israel's announcement of new settlement units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem "were to some degree expected," and urged Israelis and Palestinians to move head with peace talks due to resume this week.
"What this underscores is the importance of getting to the table, getting to the table quickly" and resolving disputes over settlements and other issues, said Kerry. He added that he had spoken on Monday with Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and had called Netanyahu.
Israel's housing minister on Sunday approved plans for 1,200 new units in settlements in the West Bank and neighborhoods in Jerusalem beyond the Green Line.
"The United States of America views all of the settlements as illegitimate," said Kerry, who was on a visit to Colombia.
Reuters contributed to this report.