Senator Chuck Schumer.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – Chuck Schumer, the senior US senator from New York who is likely to become the next Senate minority leader, issued a scathing statement on Wednesday night rebuking Secretary of State John Kerry over his closing remarks on Middle East peace.
Kerry delivered a speech earlier in the day that lasted over an hour, in which he warned that a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians was in grave jeopardy. Much of his speech focused on Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Kerry characterized as creating an “irreversible onestate reality.”
“While Secretary Kerry mentioned Gaza in his speech, he seems to have forgotten the history of the settlements in Gaza, where the Israeli government forced settlers to withdraw from all settlements and the Palestinians responded by sending rockets from Gaza into Israel,” Schumer said, seemingly mocking the outgoing secretary of state. “This is something that people of all political stripes in Israel vividly remember.”
“While he may not have intended it, I fear Secretary Kerry, in his speech and action at the UN, has emboldened extremists on both sides,” Schumer added.
John Kerry lays out Mideast peace vision
Schumer last week was harshly critical of the Obama administration for choosing to abstain from a vote on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement enterprise, allowing it to pass.
He has butted heads with the administration on Israel-related matters in the past, specifically when he came out against the president’s signature foreign policy item – the nuclear deal reached between Iran and international powers.