HUFFINGTON POST

Kerry Scolds Israel For West Bank Occupation

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 23:  (ISRAEL OUT) US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahea
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 23: (ISRAEL OUT) US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of their meeting on May 23, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. This is Kerry's fourth visit to the country in the past two months and British Foreign Secretary William Hague is due to meet him to renew peace talks between Israel and Palestine. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

“If we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence,” Kerry said in a joint Israeli-Palestinian television interview.

Kerry, in his unusually sharp comments, suggested that unless Israel makes a more concerted effort toward peace, Middle East tensions will intensify. “If we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel [and an] increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel,” he said, according to the Times of Israel account.

Answering a question from an Israeli journalist, Kerry acknowledged Israelis may have been troubled by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's release of Palestinian prisoners as a way of building trust in peace talks, according to a Washington Post account of the interview.

"I have no illusions," Kerry said, adding, “The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos. I mean, does Israel want a third Intifada?”

Following talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials, Kerry travelled to Geneva to join the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

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