In his third visit to Israel since taking office, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz pinned blame for the breakdown in peace talks there on Palestinians while offering strong words for President Barack Obama and U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry.
“The principal impediment to peace is that, to date, the Palestinians have refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and have refused to renounce terror,” Cruz told the Knesset, in a speech on Monday, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Cruz embarked on a mutli-nation tour which will include stops in Ukraine, Poland and Estonia.
“Unless and until the Palestinians can agree on those very basic starting blocks, no lasting peace solution is likely,” he stated.
President Barack Obama’s tactics have been “to criticize and harangue and pressure the Israeli government,” said Cruz, who argued that “terms of peace should not be dictated by outsiders” and that it is not “America’s role to try to impose a policy about where Israeli settlements are located and where they’re not.”
“America has a role facilitating negotiations, helping bring the parties together and providing a fair and neutral forum where booth sides can engage, if they wish, in good-faith negotiations, but any decisions about the terms of a peace deal should be made by Israel and the Palestinians,” said Cruz, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Cruz also addressed comments from Sec. of State John Kerry, who said in a private meeting last month that the Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state.”
“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative,” said Kerry. “Because 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.”
“For the secretary of state to use a loaded term like ‘apartheid’ with regard to Israel was grotesquely inaccurate and deeply harmful,” said Cruz, who called for Kerry’s resignation following those comments and for what he called “a long string of foreign policy blunders.”
The tea party darling avoided questions on his political plans.
Asked about a meeting GOP donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson held with a number of other potential GOP candidates earlier this year, Cruz demurred.
“I like and respect Sheldon a great deal,” Cruz replied. “At this point, I’m not running for anything. I’m serving in the U.S. Senate.”