In unusually stark terms, Mr. Kerry warned that the building of Israeli settlements was undermining any hope of an agreement to allow two states to live side by side.
At the Saban Forum, an annual gathering of senior Israeli and American policy makers, Mr. Kerry said some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had made “profoundly disturbing” statements.
“And more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current government have publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state and that there will be no Palestinian state,” Mr. Kerry said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Netanyahu addressed the forum via video link, arguing that Israeli settlement building was not an obstacle to peace.
Israel is ready for talks with no preconditions, he said, urging Arab governments to recognize the state of Israel.
But Mr. Kerry dismissed the idea that more Arab states would strike peace deals with Israel without any moves toward an agreement with the Palestinians.
“There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace,” he said. “Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.”
In the view of the United States government, Israel’s accelerated building on Palestinian-owned land is a deliberate obstacle to peace, Mr. Kerry added.
“I’m not here to tell you that the settlements are the reason for the conflict. No, they’re not,” he said. “But I also cannot accept the notion that they don’t affect the peace process, that they aren’t a barrier to the capacity to have peace.
“And I’ll tell you why I know that: Because the left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace, and the right that supports it openly supports it because they don’t want peace.”
Still, Mr. Kerry insisted that Israel had no greater friend than Washington.
The United States has opposed all attempts to pressure Israel through votes on United Nations bodies, he said, and has just signed a 10-year $38 billion military aid deal.