07:12 GMT25 September 2020
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    John Kerry’s recent speech, seen by many as paternalistically lecturing Israel on peace, drew the ire of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, despite the long-standing “special relationship” between London and Washington.

    Kerry’s concentration on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem appeared misguided to London, “when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is so deeply complex,” a spokesman for May said Thursday.

    Some wonder if May’s comments about Kerry are hypocritical, as she voted in favor of UN resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlements, while the US abstained. Earlier in December May called the settlements illegal, adding, "it is wrong, it is not conducive to peace, and it must stop."

    Nevertheless, May suggested that it is not "appropriate" to "attack" a critical ally in the Middle East, both for the US and the UK. Particularly, May took exception to Kerry’s comment that Netanyahu’s administration is "the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements."

    Netanyahu promptly fired back, pointing out the irony of US condemnation of Israeli settlements when “terror is everywhere” and “for an entire hour" Kerry failed to acknowledge that "Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians can celebrate Christmas.” Kerry’s discussion spoke of the settlements “obsessively," Netanyahu asserted.

    As May refutes the comments made by the top US diplomat, she is seen to be struggling to develop ties with Trump’s transition team, demonstrated by post-election conversations between the President-elect and nine other world leaders prior to speaking with the UK Prime Minister. Trump’s suggestion that Brexit-proponent Nigel Farage serve as England’s Ambassador to Washington was quickly refuted by UK government officials, a move seen to potentially stand in the way of easy relations between the two countries. 

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    Tags:
    foreign affairs, settlements, Nigel Farage, John Kerry, Theresa May, Donald Trump, United Kingdom
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