Kerry chastises Israeli and Palestinian leaders

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  • Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday voiced concern about the collapse of the Palestinian Authority
  • The PA's fall would would have devastating effects on the Middle East, Kerry warned

Washington, DC (CNN)Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday voiced concern about a potential collapse of the Palestinian Authority, which he said reflects profound distrust between Israelis and Palestinians amid a stalled peace process.

The PA's fall would have devastating effects on the Middle East, Kerry warned, in a speech at the Saban Forum, a joint annual gathering of U.S. and Israeli officials sponsored by the Brookings Institution.
"The current path is not leading to a more peaceful future. I am concerned that unless significant efforts are made to change the dynamic -- and I mean significant -- it will only bring more violence, more heartbreak, and more despair," Kerry said. "That's a fear, not a threat. And changing course will take real courage, leadership, and difficult choices. The Palestinians must decide what kind of future they want for their people."
    The Secretary said Israelis also have to make tough decisions. He urged both Palestinian and Israeli leaders to work toward a two-state solution, a goal that has eluded multiple administrations.
    Kerry suggested it's not in Israel's interest to see a weakening of the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. That would mean Israel having to assume control over PA-governed territory and would ratchet up demands for a one-state solution in which Israelis would be the minority. "I believe that is a danger for Israel," Kerry said.
    A one-state solution "is simply not "a viable option," he added, because it would mean segregated roads and different laws for Palestinians. "The one-state solution is not a solution at all for a secure, Jewish, democratic Israel living in peace."
    Kerry's chastisement of both sides comes after a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem and elsewhere.
    "Now we obviously hope that both sides will choose a path that leads toward peace. We want both to show that they are serious, and we will be there every step of the way, and in every way possible to support them in that effort," Kerry said.
    The peace process is not futile, Kerry concluded. "This is not an impossible dream. It's achievable, but it demands that we never lose hope and we all draw strength from those who have sacrificed so much for peace."