President Barack Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, stressed on Wednesday that the Obama administration would veto any UN resolution that dictates a peace solution or recognizes a Palestinian state.
Rhodes spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper hours after Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech in which he blasted Israel’s presence in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, saying Israeli construction there was ruining the prospect of a Palestinian state.
The interview also comes less than a week after the U.S. chose to abstain in the Security Council on a resolution condemning Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, thus allowing the resolution to pass.
“So just to be clear here, when (Kerry) says, ‘These are not the choices we will make,’ which is kind of vague, is he saying that the U.S. would veto any resolution in the UN which might dictate a peace solution or might recognize a Palestinian state?” Tapper asked Rhodes.
“Yes. We’ve made that clear over and over, Jake,” the advisor replied.
“We are focused on this one because the current trends on the ground, particularly the current Israeli settlement activity, is making a two-state solution potentially impossible and creating a reality where essentially what you have is a one-state solution where the West Bank is repeatedly occupied by Israeli settlements,” continued Rhodes.
Rhodes also once again denied the United States was behind last week’s UN resolution, saying claims that it was are a “distraction”.
Asked specifically about an Egyptian report which said that Kerry met with senior PA official Saeb Erekat before the vote to coordinate official positions, Rhodes replied, “I think it’s absurd that we are even talking about a report in an Egyptian tabloid of a meeting that never took place.”
“What I can tell you with certainty is that we did not draft the resolution and put this resolution forward. This was something the Palestinians and Egyptians were working on for some time now,” he added.
“We own the fact that we abstained from this resolution because we believe that was the right thing … I think it is the Israeli government that is trying to have this distraction from the real debate,” charged Rhodes.
Speaking to Israel’s Channel 2 News earlier this week, Rhodes used harsh language against Israel, saying that “Israeli intransigence” led to the vote in the Security Council