Kerry denies "apartheid" statement
Amid calls for resignation of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over his recent statement about Israel, he has denied that he said Israel could become “an apartheid state.”
"I do not believe, not have I ever stated, publicly or privately that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one," Kerry said in a statement on Monday.
"Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt," he said. "I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes."
The denial came one day after The Daily Beast reported that it obtained a recording of remarks made by Kerry during a Friday meeting in which he criticized Israel’s illegal settlement activities and failure to achieve a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority.
“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens,” Kerry told world leaders including experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan.
On Monday, the top US. diplomat also admitted that he was not careful during his Friday’s speech to international experts of the Trilateral Commission.
"I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution," Kerry explained.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Ted Cruz called for Kerry’s resignation over the comments.
Cruz said Kerry should offer his resignation "before any more harm is done to our national security interests and our critical alliance” with Israel.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Republican Senator John McCain also urged Kerry to apologize for his remarks.
Kerry has been leading Washington’s efforts to resume the stalled negotiations between Israel and the PA, with the final aim of brokering a deal. However, the talks have remained deadlocked since they were resumed last summer under the intense U.S. pressure.