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Secretary Clinton in Egypt *updated*

September 14, 2010

Check multiple updates below

It’s only 5:30a.m. here but from these photos it’s obvious her day is well under way:

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, walks through the lobby to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, smiles as she meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, unseen, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak (R) meets with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh on September 14, 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010

UPDATE: Ok, just got her schedule (keep in mind the time difference):


Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel, accompanied by Special Envoy Senator George Mitchell and Assistant Secretary Jeff Feltman. For more information, click here.

9:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

10:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

11:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

12:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a trilateral meeting with President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

2:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends a luncheon hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

TBD Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

PM LOCAL Secretary Clinton travels to Jerusalem, Israel.

UPDATE II: Here is an on-the-record briefing that just came through. It’s with Special Envoy Mitchell:

Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell on Meetings with Israeli, Palestinian, and Egyptian Leaders

MR. MITCHELL: Today’s meeting lasted about one hour and forty minutes. The meeting involved Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, Secretary of State Clinton, and myself. We all are grateful to President Mubarak, to Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, and to the Egyptian Government for their courtesy and hospitality in arranging these meetings and for their continued strong support for President Obama’s vision of comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The day began with President Mubarak hosting separate bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, and Secretary Clinton. The Secretary also met bilaterally with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. This was followed by the multilateral meeting, which I’ve just described. And as soon as I complete this briefing, I will attend with the other leaders a lunch hosted by President Mubarak for all of the participants.

Today, the parties have begun a serious discussion on core issues. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu also reiterated their intent to approach these negotiations in good faith and with a seriousness of purpose. They repeated their condemnation of all forms of violence that target innocent civilians and pledged to work together to maintain security. All of us reaffirmed our commitment to reaching a shared goal of a just, lasting, and secure peace. Our common goal remains two states for two peoples. And we are committed to a solution to the conflict that resolves all issues for the state of Israel and a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu continued to agree that these negotiations, whose goal is to resolve all core issues, can be completed within one year. As I said recently in Washington, the parties have agreed to begin first on working to achieve a framework agreement for permanent status. That work is now well underway. The parties agree that for these negotiations to succeed, they must be kept strictly confidential and treated with the utmost of sensitivity. So as in the past, today and as we proceed in the future, what I and they are able to disclose to you about the details of the meetings is and will be very limited.

They agreed that after the leaders meeting tomorrow in Jerusalem, their negotiators would meet again in the coming days to continue these negotiations and to lay the groundwork for the next round of talks at the leadership level. These face-to-face talks are critical for both sides to continue to build trust and confidence.

As both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have said, the United States pledges its full support to the parties in these talks. We will be an active and sustained partner throughout. We will put our full weight behind these negotiations and will stand by the parties as they make the difficult decisions necessary to secure a better future for their citizens.

Thank you very much for your patience. I apologize for the fact that you had to wait. The meeting did go on, as I said, for quite a lengthy period of time. And now I’ll be pleased to respond to your questions.

MODERATOR: Okay, can we have one from Glenn Kessler from the The Washington Post?

QUESTION: Thank you. Senator Mitchell, public rhetoric going into the talks, especially by the Palestinians, was strong saying that continuing with settlements would wreck the negotiations. Yet Secretary Clinton held out the possibility yesterday that both sides could take other steps that would allow the talks to continue, such as an agreement on an agenda. Can you say whether you made any progress on that front, and if so, what?

MR. MITCHELL: Our position on settlements is well known and remains unchanged. This Administration’s policy is the same as the policy of previous administrations, Democratic and Republican. As President Obama said just recently, we think it makes sense to extend the moratorium; especially given that the talks are moving in a constructive direction. We know that this is a politically sensitive issue in Israel. And we have also called on President Abbas to take steps that help encourage and facilitate this process. We believe that both sides have a responsibility to help ensure that these talks continue in a constructive manner. We’ve always made clear that the parties should promote a positive environment for the talks. And as the Secretary has said on many occasions, as we move forward, it’s important that actions by all sides help to advance our efforts, not to hinder them.

MODERATOR: Could we have —

QUESTION: Did you make progress? Is the answer yes or no?

MR. MITCHELL: We continue our efforts to make progress, and we believe that we are moving in the right direction overall.

MODERATOR: Mr. Ahmed Naguib from Egyptian TV, our Egyptian hosts.

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

INTERPRETER: (Off-mike.)

MR. MITCHELL: We have said many times that our vision is for a two-state solution that includes a Jewish, democratic state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a viable, independent, sovereign, and contiguous state of Palestine. But of course, this is one of many sensitive issues that the parties will need to resolve themselves, and that is the point of negotiations. The parties will reach agreement on all major issues.

MODERATOR: Okay. We now have Ayala Hasson from Israeli TV Channel 1.

QUESTION: Thank you. Senator Mitchell, so you do not agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel should continue the building after the moratorium as it was when Prime Minister Olmert was in office? And can you be more specific about the core issues that were on the table? Thank you.

MR. MITCHELL: I’ve stated our position on the settlement issue and that remains our position as stated in response to the first question. With respect to the core issues, I’m not going to attempt to identify each one that was discussed, but several were, in a very serious, detailed, and extensive discussion.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

INTERPRETER: (Off-mike.)

MR. MITCHELL: I’ve already responded to that question. The – all issues ultimately must be resolved by the parties themselves. The United States will, as we have said on many occasions, be an active and sustained partner throughout the talks and will, when necessary and appropriate, make bridging proposals and provide encouragement to the parties, but in the end that these matters must be resolved by the parties themselves. And we hope and expect that they will do so.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:01 am

    Ummm, 5:30a.m? What the heck are you doing blogging at 5:30a.m.? Oh yeah, you’re keeping us informed! Keep up the good work, soldier 😉

    Hillary must be so frustrated with those two yahoos (Bibi and Abbas). As you said last week Stacy, neither of them could deliver a newspaper, let alone peace!

    • September 14, 2010 10:00 am

      Steve, I get up very, very early (4a.m).

      For the record, I wasn’t the one who said they couldn’t “deliver a newspaper”- I was quoting Philip Weiss who said it. I have to admit, it made me chuckle. But remember I’ve made a promise to myself that I am going to be positive about this and put my reservations on the sidelines for a while and give it a chance.

  2. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:41 am

    My wishful fantasy? She is telling Netan-yahoo, “No more settlements, or no more aid.”
    I can dream. Get tough, Hillary!

    • September 14, 2010 10:08 am


      Yes, you can dream. We all can. But there is only one SOS that I am aware of that threatened, and partially followed through on, the aid threat and that was James Baker under George Bush I. It worked temporarily but the outcry from the AIPAC crowd was fierce. Also, George H. Bush’s middle name wasn’t Hussein and Americans weren’t running around claiming he was a terrorist-supporting Kenyan and closet Muslim. After what happened to Obama and Hillary last year where they dared to suggest illegal settlements stop leading into peace talks, well, we all know who got their britches all in a twist and it wasn’t just Bibi and his right wingers in Israel.

      The US should be able to play hardball when necessary with Israel but sadly, most of Congress and powerful lobbies seem to be more interested in promoting Israel’s dangerous, self-defeating policies (irrespective of who is PM there) rather than supporting US long-term interests and Israel’s long-term security. If settlements continue there soon won’t be any way to have a Palestinian state irrespective of who supports it- there will just be enough small pockets of land to allow a series of bantustans with no contiguous borders.

      But, I will remain positive because perhaps Hillary is just the person to pull this off! I do believe if anyone can, she can.

      • Vcal permalink
        September 14, 2010 10:23 am

        I agree with you Stacyx, I´m optimistic too, becouse hILLARY IS working her heart out in this process, and if someone can accomplish this, it could be her, nobody else!

  3. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    September 14, 2010 1:17 pm

    I saw a Brandeis University poll, reported recently in the Jerusalem Post, in which 1200 US Jews were asked to what extent they still felt “connected” to Israel. Thirty-three percent of the respondents replied “very much,” 30% said they felt “somewhat” connected, 23% said they felt “a little” connected and 14% responded “not at all.” Those under age 45 were less likely to feel connected to Israel. Twenty percent of those 18-29 and 17% of those 30-44 said they felt no connection with Israel, compared to 13% of those 45-60 and 7% of those over 60.

    While the study’s author interpreted these findings to mean that the degree of connection of US Jews to Israel is “more or less stable,” it’s hard not to conclude that the connection is not as strong as some may like to believe (with 67% feeling at best only “somewhat” connected, at worst “not at all”) and that the younger generation is becoming more distanced and alienated from Israel.

    Parenthetically, 46% of respondents thought some or all of the settlements should go, while 28% said none should be dismantled (27% said they “didn’t know”).

    • September 14, 2010 1:31 pm

      Those are interesting results. I have heard that younger Jewish people are more inclined to question some of Israel’s policies. But does that make one less “connected to” Israel? Or are they totally unrelated concepts. The whole notion of “connection to Israel” is interesting though- not sure how one defines that exactly. Does it mean “supportive of?” Or does it mean “has substantial ties to?” or “follows news of Israeli politics, culture, society etc. closely” etc. etc. I should probably try to find the original study to see if they define it.

      I think as with most things, the squeaky wheel gets the grease so to speak. That groups like AIPAC and some more conservative Jewish groups that are totally opposed to settlement bans (let alone dismantling them) get much of the attention in the media is hardly surprising, albeit unfortunate. To watch the news you would think that most American Jews are 100% behind settlement construction when in fact, that’s not the case, as the poll results show. Same goes for Jewish folks in Israel. And of course, J-Street is much more moderate in its views of mideast peace than groups like AIPAC.

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        September 14, 2010 1:39 pm


        I didn’t see the original poll questions, but the J Post story suggested that feeling “connected” related to the belief among Jews that “caring about what happened in Israel was an important part of their Jewish identity.” However, feeling “connected” in this sense, as I understood it, did not necessarily mean unqualified support for Israel about specific issues like settlements, the flotilla incident, or dividing Jerusalem.

  4. September 14, 2010 5:58 pm

    @Carolyn- Hmmm. Perhaps someone should do a poll about unqualified support. Polls like that are problematic though because people don’t always tell the truth but instead give the politically acceptable answer.

    “Caring about what happens in Israel” is rather broad. I can’t imagine too many people saying they don’t care what happened in Israel in connection with being Jewish. Most of us non-Jews in this country care about Israel and what happens there. We just care in *different* ways sometimes.

    Well, lets hope that this time around the administration gets a little bit more support if they have to lean on Israel a wee bit behind the scenes, for example with respect to settlements. It’s pretty easy to lean on the Palestinians because they really don’t have all that much bargaining power and they are much more dependent on our financial aid than Israel is. But both Bibi and Abu Mazen have domestic political problems which makes this much more difficult, unfortunately. At this point though, the Palestinians have little to lose- time is running out and everyone knows it. At the end of the day methinks they are going to have to make significant concessions. The problem of course is Hamas and I honestly don’t know what we should do about that particular problem. It seems like the only way this will work is if Fatah and Hamas reach some sort of agreement that includes Hamas laying down its weapons, much like Sein Fein and the IRA. Nobody thought peace would be possible in Northern Ireland, either…The interesting question is like with Sein Fein, will we eventually have to admit we have to include Hamas some how?

  5. September 14, 2010 7:20 pm

    Here are some different poll results regarding Israeli sentiment about the peace process and settlements etc. There’s also a little bit of commentary about the snafu over the Time Magazine cover which Abe Foxman flipped out over. Problem is, Israeli media found the same thing, said the same thing- essentially that Israelis have largely become both pessimistic (understandable) about the prospect for peace but also perhaps a bit too complacent.

    The interesting thing is that violence is down- that should be a good thing, right? But apparently support for mideast peace goes way up among Israelis when there is LOTS of violence. That of course makes sense, but it also sends a dangerous message to the Palestinians, whom we’ve been begging to stop using violence as a means of resistance- the message would seem to be “the only way to get our attention and want to give you a state is if people LOTS of people [Israelis] die.” Not a good message at all.

    Of course, the Israeli economy is booming along just fine and people may become more complacent and resistant to change when that is the case, which is essentially what the Time article said. I don’t think that goes just for Israel but really with almost any country.

    Even if violence is down (due in part to US-Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation) you would think at a certain point Israelis would tire of being an occupier country- nothing good can come of it and it’s certainly not a guarantee of long-term security- in fact, quite the opposite. Many think that if two states are created countries like Syria, Saudi Arabia, UAE etc. would be able to normalize relations with Israel- something they can’t do politically while the Occupied Territories still exist. Normalized relations and peace treaties will do more to secure Israel’s security in the long-term than this cycle of needless violence that just goes on and on and on and on and on.

  6. JonK permalink
    September 14, 2010 7:55 pm

    What I am hearing is that the US is actually threatening to cut off aid from the Palestinians if they walk out of negotiations over settlements. They are the weaker party and since most Americans seems to hate Muslims, it’s the obvious political move right before an election. After all, it’s not like Palestinians have some big Palestinian Lobby that gives tons of money to campaigns. Bibi will probably come up with some fake compromise- he’ll partially extend his fake moratorium and Hillary will gush and lavish him with praise knowing full well the so-called moratorium was never a moratorium anyway- it had so many exceptions as to be a joke and then they kept building settlements anyway and the Israeli govt did nothing to stop it. See here for an example of the non-moratorium:

    This is how these talks work and then the US will be all “gee, why didn’t this work this time?” The same AIPAC shills are the mainstay of the US negotiating team- Dennis Ross and company. Dennis Ross, Feltman, etc. were there the last time too. The Palestinians said that Ross and his negotiators were like dealing with a second Israeli negotiating team and David Aaron Miller (who also was part of previous negotiations) admitted that the US team including himself saw themselves not as mediators but as “Israel’s lawyers.” Conflict of interest much?

    Sorry palestinians you can’t win when you’re being double teamed.


  1. Tuesday Round-Up: SOS Hillary Clinton in Egypt (and now Tel Aviv) «

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