UK & World News

  • 29 April 2014, 15:02

John Kerry Denies 'Apartheid Israel' Comment

US Secretary of State John Kerry has vehemently denied ever calling Israel "an apartheid state".

The diplomat spoke out amid calls from some quarters for him to resign over comments he allegedly made to international diplomats at a private meeting.

The Daily Beast reported Mr Kerry warned that "a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens, or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state".

The website said it had been given a recording of Mr Kerry's speech.

However, Mr Kerry denied making the link, though he conceded he could have chosen his words more wisely.

"I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one," he said.

"Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt."

He added: "I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional.

"If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution."

Republican Senator Ted Cruz suggested Mr Kerry should resign "before any more harm is done to our national security interests".

Mr Kerry had "repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to countenance a world in which Israel is made a pariah," Mr Cruz said.

Veteran Republican Senator John McCain said Mr Kerry should apologise but laughed at the suggestion he should step down.

The peace process between Palestine and Israel is on the verge of collapse after Israel said it would not negotiate with a Palestinian government that included Hamas.

Last week, rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas ended a seven-year split to create a united government.

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