WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“Secretary Kerry’s remarks on the Middle East yesterday demonstrated his lifelong personal commitment to a two-state solution.  Unfortunately, I believe his speech will not advance the cause of a peaceful solution.  While he said that settlements are not the whole or even primary cause of the conflict, the speech appeared to put the entire onus on Israel and the settlement enterprise.  There is plenty of blame to go around, and this speech appeared to point fingers overwhelmingly at Israel.  With incitement openly tolerated by the Palestinian Authority and terrorism emanating from Gaza, I object to that.

“After last week’s abstention at the United Nations Security Council and at a time when some Israelis have doubts about America’s commitment to the defense of Israel at the UN, this speech does not exist in a vacuum.  Israel can’t get a fair shake in international bodies, so it relies on the United States to shield it from unfair and biased initiatives.  Undermining Israeli confidence in its only true friend will only make Israelis feel more alone in the world.

“Secretary Kerry made important recommendations on how to move forward toward a two-state solution.  However, I’m afraid that these recommendations—at this time and in this context—will not get us any closer to two states for two peoples.”