Kerry: Israeli Settlement Construction ‘Unhelpful’

The continued expansion of Israeli settlements is not helping to ease tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

“I don’t think that the situation is helped by additional settlement construction and building,” Kerry said during a hearing at the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations.

“I think that I know we need to see measures taken on both sides to indicate a readiness and willingness to try to proceed forward and reduce the violence,” Kerry said about the recent wave of terror.

The latest victim of the increased Palestinian terror is 30-year-old Captain Eliav Gelman, who was hit by a bullet fired by IDF forces aimed at terrorist attempting a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction on Wednesday.

Kerry met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman on Monday. “The Secretary continued to urge for calm and a decrease in violence, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric,’ State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement. “He stressed the commitment of the United States to seeking a sustainable two-state solution and to working with all parties to that end. He also reiterated our policy on the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements.”

Kerry also discussed the Iran nuclear deal, highlighting comments made by IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot that the agreement has improved Israel’s security. “The deal cut off all of the country’s pathways to a nuclear bomb, thereby making the world safer for us and our allies,” said Kerry. “And I will note that the general in charge of the Israeli Defense Force, just the other day, made a speech in which he said that the existential threat to Israel from Iran has been eliminated. That’s the chief of the IDF in Israel saying that himself.”

Kerry made similar comments on Tuesday during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

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