Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:3AM
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Left) and US President Barack Obama (Photo by AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Left) and US President Barack Obama (Photo by AP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry has offered a blistering defense of the US refusal to block a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements, saying if Washington had vetoed it, the regime would have been given a license for “unfettered settlement construction.”

In framing a so-called two-state solution as “the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Kerry took aim at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for building a coalition that was “the most rightwing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.”

Kerry’s speech was the latest chapter in the war of words between the Obama administration and Israel, since the recent vote that called Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds a “flagrant violation” of international law.

The speech was immediately condemned by Netanyahu, who described it as “skewed” and “obsessively” focused on the settlement issue.