Britain, edging towards Trump, scolds Kerry over Israel

LONDON – Britain scolded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for describing the Israeli government as the most right-wing in Israeli history, a move that aligns Prime Minister Theresa May more closely with President-elect Donald Trump.

After U.S. President Barack Obama enraged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by refusing to veto a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, Kerry’s public rebuke of Israel has unsettled some allies such as Britain.

Amid one of the United States’ sharpest confrontations with Israel since the 1956 Suez crisis, Kerry said in a speech that Israel jeopardizeds hopes of peace in the Middle East by building settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

While Britain voted for the UN resolution that so angered Netanyahu and says that settlements in the occupied territories are illegal, a spokesman for May said that it was clear that the settlements were far from the only problem in the conflict.

In an unusually sharp public rebuke of Obama’s top diplomat, May’s spokesman said that Israel had coped for too long with the threat of terrorism and that focusing only on the settlements was not the best way to achieve peace between Jew and Arab.

London also took particular issue with Kerry’s description of Netanyahu’s coalition as “the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements.”

“We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically-elected government of an ally,” May’s spokesman said when asked about Kerry 70-minute speech in the State Department’s auditorium.

The U.S. State Department said it was surprised by the remarks from May’s office and said Kerry’s comments were in line with Britain’s own policy. It pointedly also thanked Germany, France, Canada, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates for support.

TRUMP AND MAY?

Britain has long cherished its so-called “special relationship” with the United States as a central pillar of its foreign policy, but May has struggled to build relations with Trump’s transition team.

Following his election, Trump spoke to nine other world leaders before he spoke to May while he caused astonishment in London when he suggested that Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage should be Britain’s ambassador to Washington.

By openly criticising Kerry, who will leave office in just weeks, May moves British policy closer to Trump than its other European allies such as Germany and France.

Trump has denounced the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel and promised to change course when he is sworn in on Jan. 20.

“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has come out in favour of the Kerry speech while France holds a Middle East conference next month in Paris.

But Australia has distanced itself from Obama’s stance on Israel, ABC reported.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was convinced peace with Israel was achievable but demanded that Israel halt settlement building before talks restarted.

ISRAEL

Netanyahu has been witheringly critical of Kerry’s speech. In a statement released shortly after it was delivered, Netanyahu accused Kerry of bias and said Israel did not need to be lectured to by foreign leaders.

Netanyahu said he looked forward to working with Trump.

Kerry “obsessively dealt with settlements”, Netanyahu said in his response, and barely touched “the root of the conflict – Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries.”

In Israel, Kerry’s speech has played into the hands of Israel’s far-right national-religious movement, led by Naftali Bennett, the education minister, who is in Netanyahu’s cabinet but very critical of Netanyahu and is trying to position himself as a future potential leader.

Bennett’s party, Jewish Home, wants to annexe large parts of the West Bank and openly opposes the creation of a Palestinian state. He is advocating for more settlements and the legalisation of outpost settlements, which even the Israeli government considers illegal.

“This [Obama] administation’s policy has left the Middle East up in flames,” Bennett said after Kerry’s speech. “The one free democracy has been thrown under the bus – and that’s Israel.” – Reuters

Related Posts
Teen girl who escaped Boko Haram meets with Nigeria’s president
LAGOS, Nigeria -- The first Chibok teenager to escape from Boko Haram's Sambisa Forest stronghold was flown to Abuja on Thursday and met with Nigeria's president, even as her freedom ...
READ MORE
Zanu-PF Factionalism Invokes Memories of Former Leaders Chitepo, Sithole
HARARE—Alleged factionalism continues to ravage Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party as members continue to position themselves to succeed 91-year-old Zimbabwe leader, Robert Mugabe. Members aligned to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa have dismissed ...
READ MORE
South African President Jacob Zuma addresses supporters of his ruling African National Congress (ANC), at a rally to launch the ANC's local government election manifesto in Port Elizabeth, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress needs to end infighting and focus on winning back public support, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday as he tries to ...
READ MORE
Zanu PF expulsions boost People First
HARARE - Zanu PF bigwigs who were expelled from the party on Wednesday have vowed that they will not be pushed out of politics — a move that analysts said ...
READ MORE
ZANU-PF plots Joice Mujuru downfall
FORMER vice president Joice Mujuru’s dramatic entry into opposition politics has shaken ZANU-PF to the core, forcing President Robert Mugabe’s party to canvass its sharpest brains across main wings to ...
READ MORE
Socialist Corbyn elected UK opposition Labour leader
LONDON - Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran left-winger who professes an admiration for Karl Marx, was elected leader of Britain's opposition Labour party on Saturday, a victory that may make a ...
READ MORE
French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015. France's BEA air crash investigation agency said it was examining the debris,  in coordination with Malaysian and Australian authorities, to determine whether it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished last year in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history. Picture taken July 29, 2015.     REUTERS/Zinfos974/Prisca Bigot      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
SAINT-DENIS, Reunion (Reuters) - Plane debris washed up on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean is almost certainly part of a Boeing 777, a Malaysian official and ...
READ MORE
Mujuru solicits Tsvangirai help
HARARE - Faced with a tough by-election in Bikita West in two weeks’ time, former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) is banking on the heavyweight support of ...
READ MORE
The world according to Boris, the new foreign secretary of Britain
NEW YORK/LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed as her foreign secretary Boris Johnson, a man renowned for the occasional slip of the tongue, or as the Latin-loving Etonian ...
READ MORE
President Mugabe  speaks to  Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa while  Vice President  Phelekezela Mphoko and Secretary for Commissariat Saviour  Kasukuwere looks on at Women's league National Assembly meeting in Harare yesterday. Picture by Justin Mutenda
Zanu PF political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday appealed to church leaders to pray for President Robert Mugabe from party insiders whom he claimed were ready to use any means necessary ...
READ MORE
Teen girl who escaped Boko Haram meets with
Zanu-PF Factionalism Invokes Memories of Former Leaders Chitepo,
Zuma calls for end to ANC infighting
Zanu PF expulsions boost People First
ZANU-PF plots Joice Mujuru downfall
Socialist Corbyn elected UK opposition Labour leader
Plane debris on remote island points to breakthrough
Mujuru solicits Tsvangirai help
The world according to Boris, the new foreign
Some bigwigs want Mugabe out: Kasukuwere

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

Paris Jackson ‘wants to vomit’ seeing white actor as ‘King of Pop’

12th January 2017 Staff Reporter 0

Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris says she is “incredibly offended” by a new comic film in which a white British actor, Joseph Fiennes, portrays the late “King of Pop.” Paris Jackson, 18, also called the tongue-in-cheek […]