Kerry: Israeli settlements not obstacle to peace

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

The Palestinian Authority and its supporters around the world regularly single out Jewish "settlements" on the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria as, if not the sole, then certainly the primary obstacle to peace.

But US Secretary of State John Kerry said before his departure from the region earlier this week that, in fact, Jewish settlements are not the primary obstacle to peace.

During a noisy press conference at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday, Kerry was asked if Israel's failure to fully impose a Jewish building freeze in compliance with Palestinian demands was the reason he had yet to succeed in getting the two sides back to the negotiating table.

"The answer is no," Kerry stated emphatically, adding that "there are any number of obstacles, but we are working through them."

In fact, the original "Oslo" accords never prohibited Jews from building homes in Judea and Samaria, though the Palestinians often claim otherwise. In later agreements, Israel committed to not building new Jewish communities, but always insisted on allowing natural growth of exiting towns.

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