THERESA MAY drew “surprise” from the US yesterday after attempting to slap down Washington for not slavishly supporting Israel.
Downing Street said outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry’s description of the Israeli administration as the “most right-wing in history” was “not appropriate” given that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leading the democratically elected government of an ally.”
It came after the US took the almost unprecedented step of abstaining in a United Nations security council vote condemning Israeli settlement-building in the Occupied Territories.
The illegal settlements — a long-term stumbling block to peace talks with Palestine — have escalated under the Netanyahu regime.
In comments apparently aimed at currying favour with US president-elect Donald Trump, Ms May said it was wrong to focus on “single issues” like settlement building, rather than the wider peace process.
The US State Department responded: “We are surprised by the UK Prime Minister’s office statement given that Secretary Kerry’s remarks — which covered the full range of threats to a two state solution, including terrorism, violence, incitement and settlements — were in line with the UK’s own long-standing policy and its vote at the United Nations last week.”
Officially Britain regards settlement building in the Occupied Territories as illegal but Ms May’s pronouncement calls that stance into question.
The State Department also pointed out it had received warm responses to Mr Kerry’s speech from “Germany, France, Canada, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and others.”