Trump’s Secretary of State pick says Kerry undermined legitimacy of Israel

During Senate confirmation hearing, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State criticized John Kerry for his Dec. 28 speech condemning Israeli “settlements” and committed to fully support Israel. 

Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for US Secretary of State, criticized his would-be predecessor, outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry, on Wednesday for his speech on the Middle East peace process on December 28. Kerry delivered the speech shortly after the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning any Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria, with the US failing to veto the resolution.

“The secretary’s speech, which followed that UN resolution, I found quite troubling because of the attacks on Israel and in many ways undermining the government of Israel itself in terms of its own legitimacy and the talks,” said Tellerson during his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

In the speech, Kerry not only focused primarily on criticizing Israeli “settlements” in Judea and Samaria but also attacked the composition of the current Israeli government by referring to it as “the most right wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.” The United Kingdom condemned Kerry for those remarks the next day.

Tillerson also criticized the UN resolution, arguing that it actually hindered any progress in peace talks.

“The UN resolution that was passed, in my view, is not helpful,” Tillerson contended. “It actually undermines a good set of conditions for talks to continue.”

Tillerson also stressed that he will fully support Israel as Secretary of State.

“We have to recommit that we’re going to meet our obligations to Israel as our most important strategic partner in the region,” he added. “Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News