SOS Hillary Clinton’s Wednesday Schedule: Israel-Palestine The Order of the Day *UPDATED*
See multiple updates below.
10:45 a.m. Secretary Clinton joins President Obama’s bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the White House.
1:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton joins President Obama’s bilateral meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House.
2:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton joins President Obama’s bilateral meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, at the White House.
4:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton joins President Obama’s meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House.
8:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton attends a dinner hosted by President Obama for the Israeli and Palestinian delegations, at the White House.
UPDATE: This video of Secretary Clinton and Bibi Netanyahu’s statement is from last night so I thought I’d put it here instead of creating a separate post for it. My opinion: While the murder of the four settlers by Hamas is tragic and totally unacceptable, I hope that the far right elements of Israeli politics (ie. Bibi and his coalition) don’t fall for Hamas’ bait and allow this to undermine peace negotiations. As Secretary Clinton points out, this sort of violence is precisely why the decades long conflict must end NOW. Everybody knows that there will be attempts to sabotage the talks- this happens every time an administration tries to move forward on Mideast Peace. Already there are people in Bibi’s right wing coalition in the Knesset that are urging him to walk away from negotiations as a result of the killings yesterday but the call comes from people who are cynically using the tragedy as a pretense because they don’t agree with peace negotiations to begin with. Also, the same goes for the Palestinians- if the Palestinians walked away each time a Palestinian was killed we’d never get anywhere. In addition, it isn’t helpful for Abu Mazen to run around claiming that if settlements don’t stop he’s going to walk out of negotiations.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: We witnessed today a savage murder of four innocent Israelis. There are seven new orphans that were added to the circle of grief in Israel. We will not let the blood of Israeli civilians go unpunished. We will find the murderers. We will punish their dispatchers. We will not let terror decide where Israelis live or the configuration of our final borders. These and other issues will be determined in the negotiations for peace that we’re conducting, and in these negotiations I will set clearly the security needs that are required precisely to address this kind of terror; and I hope to have the opportunity to go into greater detail in my conversations with President Obama tomorrow and with you, Secretary Clinton, today, and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians as well. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me express our deepest sympathy to the families who have lost their loved ones. This kind of savage brutality has no place in any country, under any circumstances. The forces of terror and destruction cannot be allowed to continue. It is one of the reasons why the prime minister is here today: to engage in direct negotiations with those Palestinians who themselves have rejected a path of violence in favor of a path of peace. We have to not only stand against the kind of horrific murders we saw today on behalf of the four who were lost and, as the prime minister said, the seven orphans who have been brutally deprived of their parents, but on behalf of all people — Israelis, Palestinians, everyone who knows that there is no answer when violence begets violence. And I thank the prime minister for his leadership in seeking a different future for the children of Israel. And we pledge to do all we can, always, to protect and defend the State of Israel and to provide security to the Israeli people. That is one of the paramount objectives that Israel has that the United States supports in these negotiations.
Everybody appreciates Israel’s security concerns so Bibi doesn’t have to use this tragedy to drive a point home that we all already understand. Also, it’s interesting how when a crime is committed, Israel’s response is to exact bloody revenge rather than, say, arresting the perpetrators. Does this perhaps perpetuate the cycle of violence? I’m not saying Israel should just sit back and do nothing, but usually Israeli reprisals target many, many people which trigger more reprisals in response. Just my 0.02 cents.
UPDATE II: Good for the Palestinians- in response to the murder of four Israeli settlers yesterday, the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY has arrested 250 people:
In a swift response to the shooting, Abbas’ forces rounded up 250 low and midlevel Hamas supporters throughout the West Bank in what the group said was the largest sweep in recent memory. Hamas officials called the roundup arbitrary and an act of treason.
n Tuesday’s shooting, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a car, killing the four Israeli settlers inside, including a pregnant woman, near the West Bank city of Hebron. Hundreds of people attended funerals for the victims on Wednesday, including a large ceremony at the settlement near Hebron where they lived.
The violence put new pressure on Netanyahu to resume construction in West Bank settlements when a freeze expires on Sept. 26. The Palestinians have threatened to walk out of negotiations if building resumes.
Netanyahu has not said what he will do.
On Wednesday, Yesha Council, which represents the settlers, symbolically restarted a handful of construction projects in the West Bank. Israeli police did not interfere, but it’s not clear how much the settlers could realistically build.
This is interesting because if Israel starts to engage in bloody reprisals, it could end up further scuttling the peace talks. After all, in a democracy, isn’t the goal of the criminal justice system to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice? This appears to be what the Palestinian Authority is trying to do by rounding up over 200 people believed to be militants involved in the murders (or with knowledge thereof). In other words, if Israel starts killing alleged militants (as Bibi has essentially vowed to do), it will simply look like revenge- given part of the test for the Palestinians is to see if they can maintain security, why not allow them to work WITH the Israeli police/IDF to round up the perpetrators? This is exactly the type of response we WANT from the PA- they clearly have been working since the attacks to find the perpetrators. This sort of kills the argument made by some that all Palestinians are essentially Hamas supporters- never mind that the international community (and even the IDF itself) has given the PA a lot of credit for beefing up security and doing everything possible to reign in violent extremism.
It’s also interesting that the article brings up the ramifications of not dealing with the issues surrounding Hamas in the peace negotiations. They are a problem but they absolutely MUST be part of the equation or any hope of a peace agreement (and resulting two state solution) is merely illusory.