John Kerry Secretary of State said that the United States acted with one primary objective in mind: to preserve the possibility of the two state solution, which every U.S. administration for decades has agreed is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Two states is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace and security with its neighbors, and freedom and dignity for the Palestinian people. That future is now in jeopardy, with terrorism, violence and incitement continuing and unprecedented steps to expand settlements being advanced by avowed opponents of the two state solution. That is why we cannot in good conscience stand in the way of a resolution at the United Nations that makes clear that both sides must act now to preserve the possibility of peace. While we do not agree with every aspect of this Resolution, it rightly condemns violence and incitement and settlement activity and calls on both sides to take constructive steps to reverse current trends and advance the prospects for a two state solution. And it does not seek to impose on the parties a solution to the conflict. It preserves the ability for the parties to negotiate the end of conflict.
As a lifelong friend of Israel, I have taken every opportunity to speak out, or cast a vote, to protect its security and the chance for a peaceful future. This Administration is proud of what Israel’s leaders have called its unparalleled record of support for Israel’s security, including the largest military assistance package in history, defending Israel against any efforts to undermine its security or legitimacy in international fora, and steadfastly opposing boycotts, divestment campaigns and sanctions targeting the State of Israel. It is that very commitment to Israel’s long term security that we are standing up for today. We hope the parties will see this as a moment to urgently advance the peaceful and prosperous future they each deserve.
We all understand that reversing these disturbing trends on the ground will not itself bring an end to the conflict. That is why, over the past four years, I have spent countless hours engaged with the Israelis and Palestinians, countries in the region, and key stakeholders around the world, to explore and advance the prospects for peace. In the coming days, I will speak further to the vote in the Security Council today and share more detailed thoughts, drawn from the experience of the last several years, on the way ahead.