Secretary of State John Kerry: 12-18 months before two-state solution is ‘over’

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry estimates that the two-state solution will be “over” in a year and a half. Kerry spoke at the House Foreign Affair Committee hearing on U.S. interests abroad. While many analysts have been discussing the closing of a window of opportunity for the two-state solution for several years, setting such a short time frame by the secretary of state is unprecedented.

Hannah Allam of the McClatchy Newspapers tweeted:

The window for a 2-state solution is shutting, we have a year, year and a half before it’s over […] For Israel, for us, for world, not to strengthen the Palestinian Authority amounts to working against our own interests […] To not invest in the PA would be remarkably short-sighted. Netanyahu has agreed to engage in new economic plan in West Bank.

Later, Kerry added his own interpretation of the reasons for the current impasse:

[The] Palestinians [are] convinced Israel will never give them a state, Israel [is] convinced Palestinians will never give them security.

UPDATE: Here are Kerry’s exact words.

KERRY: But I can guarantee you that am committed to this, because I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting. I think we have some period of time a year, a year and a half, to two years or its over. […] So there’s an urgency to this in my mind, and I intend, on behalf of the President’s instructions, to honor that urgency and see what we can do to move forward.

And later:

“Look, the hurdle we have to get over here, part of the difficulty is the level of mistrust on both sides is gigantic […] President Abbas deep-down is not convinced — and that may be a light word for it — that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and Israel are ever going to give them a state. And on the other side, Israel is not convinced that the Palestinians and others ever going to give them the security that they need. So we have to find an equation here, folks, where we can try to dispel those years of mistrust and get both sides to understand that both things are in fact possible.”

Kerry has already been criticized for his comments, and an Israeli source told the British Telegraph that “when it comes to the heart of the matter he [Kerry] has no bright ideas.”