US Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration’s abstention from the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel settlements. He maintained that they jeopardized the two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, which, he said, was the only just and realistic road to peace. That said, Kerry proposed six principles as the bases for negotiations:
1) Secure, defensible and recognized borders for Israel and a contiguous, viable Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 war lines.
2) Two states for two peoples, the Jews and the Palestinians, with mutual recognition and full and equal rights for all their citizens.
3) Just, fair and agreed solution of the refugee problem with compensation, recognition of their suffering and their need for permanent homes.
4) Jerusalem as the capital of the two states with full protection for and accessibility to the shrines holy to the three monotheistic faiths.
5. Satisfying Israel’s security needs is critical. Its occupation must end with the rise of a sovereign, non-militarized Palestinian state.
Kerry predicted, three weeks before he bows out as Secretary of State, that solving the Palestinian issue would lead to groundbreaking security partnerships between Israel and the Arab states of the region.