WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on United States-Israeli relations (all times local):
Secretary of State John Kerry says expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem are leading to an "irreversible one-state reality."
Kerry says this is happening despite polls showing that most Israelis support the creation of a separate Palestinian state.
Kerry is delivering a speech Wednesday that outlines his proposals for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. His speech comes days after the U.S. declined to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution that called Israeli settlements a violation of international law.
Kerry says most people in Israel don't know how systematic the settlement process has become in recent years, with tens of thousands of Israelis moving into the middle of Palestinian territories.
Secretary of State John Kerry says that if Israel rejects a two-state solution for peace with the Palestinian people, "it can be Jewish or it can be democratic."
Kerry was responding to withering Israeli criticism of the United States' abstention from a vote condemning Israeli settlement construction. He reiterated the American position that a two-state solution giving both Israelis and Palestinians a home state is the best roadmap to peace. He also made it clear that despite recent differences in policy, the United States continues to be Israel's closest ally.
Israel has been furious at the United States since the UN vote late last week. But Kerry said in a farewell speech at the State Department on Wednesday that the vote was "in keeping with" American values for democracy.
Secretary of State John Kerry is delivering a farewell speech to outline his proposals for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Kerry's speech comes days after the U.S. refused to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution that called Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem a violation of international law. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed the resolution and accused the U.S. of colluding with the Palestinians in drawing it up.
A senior Israeli Cabinet minister, Gilad Erdan (gih-LAD' EHR'-dahn), on Wednesday called Kerry's speech a "pathetic step," further heightening tensions between the two close allies as President Barack Obama prepares to leave office.
Israeli leaders have made no secret they are counting on President-elect Donald Trump to change U.S. policy.