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Kerry presses peace deal at American Jewish Committee meeting

June 03, 2013|By Paul Richter
  • Secretary of State John F. Kerry speaks at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in Washington.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry speaks at the American Jewish Committee… (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated…)

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Monday said Israelis and Palestinians should support the two-state peace initiative he is championing to achieve their aspirations and security goals.

Kerry, appearing before the American Jewish Committee in Washington, called for Israel to accept the risk of a peace deal with Palestinians because the consequences of not doing so would be worse.

“Israel will be left to choose between being a Jewish state or a democratic state, but it will not be able to fulfill the founders’ visions of being both at once,” he said.

The status quo is not sustainable, he told the group, a leading advocate for Israel.

"I heard all the arguments for why it’s too difficult to solve the conflict ... cynicism has never solved anything," he said. "It has never given birth to a state, and won’t.”

Kerry was not specific in his warning about a “one-state solution,” but since taking over as secretary of State this year, he has been pushing both sides to resume peace negotiations. He has met widespread skepticism that a deal is possible.

Kerry has visited the region three times as he seeks to lay the groundwork for a still-undisclosed plan that the sides are expected to continue developing in secrecy for some time. He has already become the target of criticism from both sides.

Nevertheless, Kerry insisted that he was undeterred, and asked others to embrace his optimism.

“I still believe peace is achievable, and more than ever, I believe it’s worth fighting for,” he said, calling on them to “summon courage to achieve peace.”

Kerry also repeated a vow that the Obama administration “will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

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paul.richter@latimes.com

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