Kerry Scolds Israel For West Bank Occupation

11/09/2013 12:48 am ET

“If we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence,” Kerry said in a joint Israeli-Palestinian television interview.

Kerry, in his unusually sharp comments, suggested that unless Israel makes a more concerted effort toward peace, Middle East tensions will intensify. “If we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel [and an] increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel,” he said, according to the Times of Israel account.

Answering a question from an Israeli journalist, Kerry acknowledged Israelis may have been troubled by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's release of Palestinian prisoners as a way of building trust in peace talks, according to a Washington Post account of the interview.

"I have no illusions," Kerry said, adding, “The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos. I mean, does Israel want a third Intifada?”

Following talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials, Kerry travelled to Geneva to join the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.