Former US President Jimmy Carter has downplayed the US influence over Israel and Palestine, saying its record low sway on either side hinders resolution of prolonged Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"America now has… zero influence on either side and in fact has withdrawn our commitment to be the major negotiator" between the two sides, carter said during a tour of East Jerusalem (al-Quds) with a group of former world leaders on Monday.
Carter reiterated that Washington’s lack of influence over Israel has emboldened Tel Aviv to “do what it wants” freely, prompting Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu to expand settlement construction in the occupied territories.
Carter who no longer filters his criticism against Netanyahu’s expansionist policies, said the Israeli premier is seriously seeking to take over “the entire West Bank.”
"And when the United States withdraws, of course, that gives Israel a completely free hand to do what it wants," he said, describing it as a "very serious disappointment," he added.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Pemier Netanyahu said the construction of settlements would continue in the occupied East Jerusalem.
On May 19, Israel announced plans to expand its settlement projects in the occupied West Bank, despite international calls to halt illegal constructions.
Carter’s disapproval of the US President Barack Obama administration came amid the incumbent president’s campaigns and efforts to secure a second term in office.
The international community regards all the Israeli settlements across the West Bank as illegal under international law.
Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The United States is the staunch ally of Israel and has previously vetoed almost all anti-Israeli resolutions.