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US voices 'overwhelming frustration' with Israel over two-state solution Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

US voices 'overwhelming frustration' with Israel over two-state solution

Joe Biden is not holding his breath for peace [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 April, 2016

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Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry slammed Netanyahu's government for obstructing a two-state solution as chances of a final peace push by the Obama administration wear thin.
Vice-President Joe Biden has admitted the US' "overwhelming frustration" with Israel over the continued systematic expansion of Jewish settlements and land grabs in occupied Palestinian territory.

Biden offered a grim outlook over peace efforts between Palestine and Israel in a speech to J Street, a pro-Israel advocacy group, over Binyamin Netanyahu's push away from a two state solution.

"I firmly believe that the actions that Israel's government has taken over the past several years - the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalisation of outposts, land seizures - they're moving us and more importantly they're moving Israel in the wrong direction," Biden said on Monday.

The vice-president, who met in March with both Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said he had been discouraged about prospects for peace any time soon.

It is a US obligation to guarantee Israel's security and to "push them as hard as we can" towards a two-state solution despite "our sometimes overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government", he said.

The vice-president said he had been discouraged about prospects for peace any time soon


At the same event, Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington would push for a two-state solution deal between Israel and the Palestinians until the end of president Barack Obama's mandate.

"Despite the fact that we have spent time and effort to try to get there for these past few years I can tell you that for these next nine months we will not stop working to find a way," Kerry said.

Obama's second and final term is due to come to an end in January, and many reports suggest that hardliners in Israel are content to wait the administration out in the hope the next will prove "more sympathetic" towards Israel.

International attempts to coax Israeli and Palestinian leaders back into talks have been moribund for months, amid a surge in both Israeli settlement building and shooting attacks.

Since October, at least 207 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire; more than 40 of them were under the age of 18.

Most of the Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting knife attacks against Israeli soldiers. 

Some 28 Israelis and two Americans have been killed in the same period.

Israel claims that a Palestinian campaign of incitement is fuelling the violence.

Palestinians say attacks are rooted in frustration stemming from nearly five decades of Israeli military occupation.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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