Full text of remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry on Israeli-Palestinian peace

Following is the full text of remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry, delivered at the State Department in Washington, DC on December 28, as posted on the Department of State’s web site

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Thank you. (Coughs.) Excuse me. Thank you for your patience, all of you. For those of you who celebrated Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy Chanukah. And to everybody here, I know it’s the middle of a holiday week. I understand. (Laughter.) But I wish you all a very, very productive and Happy New Year.

Today, I want to share candid thoughts about an issue which for decades has animated the foreign policy dialogue here and around the world – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Press Release: APN Welcomes Sec. Kerry's Speech on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Secretary of State John Kerry today articulated, in the clearest possible terms, what is at stake for both Israel and the US: Israel's security and its viability as a democracy and a Jewish state. He also offered a pragmatic vision of the only way forward for Israel that ensures both.

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Press Release: APN Welcomes UNSC Vote on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes today's action in the United Nations Security Council in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace and the two-state solution.

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges the Obama administration to support or abstain on today's UN Security Council resolution in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace and the two-state solution.

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Press Release: APN Opposes David Friedman's Nomination as US Ambassador to Israel

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is alarmed by President-elect Donald Trump's choice of David Friedman to be the United States' next ambassador to Israel. Friedman's choice sends an alarming message about the Trump administration's role in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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APN to Trump Team: Avoid inflammatory statements on Jerusalem

Following statements by aides to President-elect Donald Trump regarding his wish to move America’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is urging Trump and members of his transition team to avoid controversial, inflammatory statements on this sensitive foreign policy question.

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Israel’s settlement “Legalization Bill”: What it is and what it means

Israel’s settlement “Legalization Bill”: What it is and what it means

 The concept

Israel’s so-called “Legalization Bill” (aka “Regulation Bill” or “Regularization Bill”) is designed to retroactively legalize Israeli civilian construction in the West Bank (outposts and parts of recognized settlements) built on privately-owned Palestinian land, in violation of Israeli law.

The bill comes in reaction to years of legal efforts, led by Shalom Achshav (the Israeli Peace Now movement) to compel the Government of Israel to meet its obligation to respect and impose the rule of law by removing construction by settlers that violates Israel’s own laws. For years, the government of Israel has resisted these efforts, dragging out cases in courts with repeated requests for delays, allowing illegal construction to grow further.

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Transcript of Secretary Kerry's Comments on Israel at the Saban Forum, December 5, 2016

On December 4, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at Brookings’ Saban Forum. He was interviewed by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Kerry’s comments included sharp criticism of the Israeli government’s failure to pursue a two-state peace settlement with the Palestinians. The entire interview can be found here. Following are Kerry’s comments relating to Israel.

So what we have is an opportunity to redefine the Middle East, to redefine the region to meet the security needs of Israel and the security needs of the rest of the region. Now, I can talk about that ad infinitum. I’ve spent four years now in the most intensive effort I think – I don’t think – I asked my staff to go back and read the record. I have talked to Bibi Netanyahu more than 375 times in this term. That’s only the public recording, because I was in the habit of picking up the phone and calling him at home or calling him here and there and just getting him eating. I’ve talked to him in those public transactions more than 130 hours. My wife accused me of having talked to him more than I’ve talked to her in these four years.

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Bilingual schools fighting segregation in Israel

kid and barbara350x375Jewish and Arab students celebrated “Tolerance Day” when we visited Bridge Over the Wadi, the bilingual elementary school in the Israeli Arab town of Kufr Kara. This extraordinary school is one of a handful statewide, in which Jewish and Arab kids study and socialize in Hebrew and Arabic, learn about each other’s culture and narrative, and build common ground.

“How is ‘Tolerance Day’ different from any other day here,” I asked the school’s principal, Dr. Hassan Aghbaria. “That’s a good point,” he laughed, “we teach and experience tolerance every day, year round.”

Dr. Aghbaria’s school is one of six bilingual schools throughout Israel, run by Hand in Hand, the Center for Jewish-Arab education in Israel. The one in Kufr Kara is the only place in Israel where Jewish parents take their children, every day, to a school in an Arab community.

To understand how unusual these schools are, one must realize how segregated Israel’s school system is, and how segregated Israeli society is. Jewish and Arab students attend separate schools, where separate curricula are taught. Jewish and Arab citizens hardly socialize. They hardly get together. “What we have in this school is a virtual environment. Everything outside is segregated, while everything inside our school is integrated,” Principal Aghbaria told participants in APN’s Israel study tour who visited his school mid-November. The challenge, he said, is to extend this environment beyond the school, beyond Kufr Kara, and beyond the five elementary school years that students attend.

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APN Mourns the Death of Shimon Peres

Shimon_Peres_AP_Photo_400Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Shimon Peres, the former president and prime minister of the State of Israel, an icon of Israel's founding generation, a visionary of peace and security for Israel, a dedicated leader who led Israel through wars and in the quest for peace.

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