Vice President Joe Biden spoke on Monday night at a J Street gala in Washington DC, expressing what he said was the Obama administration’s “overwhelming frustration” with Israel.
Biden criticism of Israel came just hours after a bomb ripped through a bus in Jerusalem, leaving at least 16 wounded.
“The present course Israel’s on is not one that’s likely to secure its existence as a Jewish, democratic state – and we have to make sure that happens,” Biden said.
The Vice President went on to excoriate Israel over a host of issues. Despite a partial freeze on construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Biden attacked Israeli actions over the Green Line.
“I firmly believe that the actions that Israel’s government has taken over the past the past several years — the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures — they’re moving us and more importantly they’re moving Israel in the wrong direction.”
In a swipe at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Biden offered praise for leftwing MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union), expressing openly the hope that the Israeli left win back control of the Knesset.
“May your views begin to once again become the majority opinion in the Knesset,” said Biden.
Referring obliquely to the recent terror attack, Biden said the US condemned the use of violence, calling those who perpetrate attacks on civilians “misguided cowards”.
Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke at the event, assuring attendees that the Obama administration was still actively pursuing a reboot to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“I can tell you that for these next nine months we will not stop working to find a way. We will continue to try to advance a two-state solution, the only solution.”
Kerry also discussed the Iran nuclear deal, noting that the Iranian regime had thus far received only a small portion of the funds unfrozen as part of the agreement.
“Sometimes you heard some of the presidential candidates putting a mistaken figure out of $155 billion. We never thought it would be that. Others thought it would be about a $100 billion because there was supposedly $100 billion that was owed and so forth. We calculated it to be about $55 billion when you really take a hard look at the economy and what is happening. Guess what, folks. You know how much they have received to date as I stand here tonight? About $3 billion”.