Secretary Clinton: Mideast Peace Still Possible
I give her credit for her endless patience.
This week Israel announced upwards of 1300 new housing units in East Jerusalem, a move which has the Palestinian Authority threatening to go to the UN to have a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. The problem, of course, is the US will never allow it, would veto it and the facts on the ground have changed so much (thanks to expanding settlements) that Israel would just ignore the UN dictate. In a perfect world the Palestinians should be able to do this, but it’s far from a perfect world.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that a peace deal in the Middle East was still possible and necessary, despite a renewed row over Israeli construction on land the Palestinians want for a state.
Clinton told reporters in a joint video conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Israel’s recently announced plan to construct 1,300 homes in East Jerusalem and 800 more in the West Bank settlement of Ariel was counterproductive to peace negotiations.
Nevertheless, she said, the United States was continuing to work to resume the stalled negotiations.
“This announcement was counterproductive to our efforts to resume negotiations between the parties,” Clinton told reporters, but said: “We still believe that a positive outcome is both possible and necessary.”
U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday, a day after the move was announced, that such plans were “never helpful”.
The U.S. State department said Washington was “deeply disappointed” by the plans, which were revealed during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Clinton in New York on Thursday.
Clinton also said Wednesday that the United States would give an additional $150 million to the Palestinian Authority as Washington seeks to boost the fledgling government amid an impasse in peace talks with Israel. ..
I understand people’s frustration with this issue and with what has been transpiring regarding settlements. My fear is that unless the parties come to some actual agreement on final status issues and unless there is a plan to implement the creation of a Palestinian state in a timely manner (ie. not take 10-20 years to do it) then I think the lesson even peaceful Palestinians may learn from this is that the only way they get the world’s attention is through violence. Also, failing at Mideast peace only emboldens Israel’s enemies, including Iran and Hamas. Sort of ironic, huh?
Some photos from the video conference this morning: