A senior member of Israel’s nationalist government on Wednesday called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s planned Mideast policy speech a “pathetic move,” further heightening tensions between the two close allies as the Obama administration prepares to leave office.
The comments by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan were the latest salvo in a toxic exchange following the U.S.’s refusal to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution last week that called Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem a violation of international law. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has bitterly criticized the resolution and accused the U.S. of colluding with the Palestinians in drawing it up.
Following up on the U.N. resolution, Kerry is scheduled to deliver a farewell speech in Washington on Wednesday to outline his proposals for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Next month, France is set to host an international conference where 70 countries, over Israeli objections, hope to endorse an international framework for Mideast peace. Israeli officials fear that the conference’s recommendations may then be approved in another U.N. Security Council recommendation just before Obama leaves office on Jan. 20.