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* Clinton Pushes For Two-State Solution, Vows Gaza Aid Won't Reach Militants

World  (tags: Clinton Gaza, Foreign Affairs, Gaza, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Gaza Aid, Hillary Clinton Israel, Hillary Clinton Mideast Tour, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Us Aid Gaza, World News )

- 3669 days ago -
On her first foray into Middle East diplomacy, Clinton used an international donors conference to issue a blunt call for urgent action to forge a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. She also signaled a possible warming in U.S. relations with Syria after...


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Blue Bunting (855)
Monday March 2, 2009, 9:10 pm
SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that Israel cannot "just sit and take rockets" from Gaza terrorizing its citizens as she stressed the Obama administration's commitment to finding a peaceful existence for Israelis and Palestinians.

On her first foray into Middle East diplomacy, Clinton used an international donors conference to issue a blunt call for urgent action to forge a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. She also signaled a possible warming in U.S. relations with Syria after several years of division.

With the Obama administration's Mideast peace envoy, George Mitchell, seated behind her at a conference meant to raise billions to help the Gaza Strip recover from its recent war with Israel, Clinton said President Barack Obama would continue the Bush administration's focus on seeking a two-state solution that involves Israel and a sovereign Palestinian state coexisting in peace.

She made it clear, however, that Mideast leaders could count on Obama to take a more active approach than did his predecessor, George W. Bush.

"It is time to look ahead," she said, with an eye on the human aspects of what years of regional conflict have meant for the Palestinians and others.

"The United States is committed to a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and we will pursue it on many fronts," she said.

The former New York senator and one-time first lady told the gathering: "I have to confess I am troubled by the continuing rocket attacks coming out of Gaza." She added that Israel cannot "just sit and take rockets falling on its people."

The Sharm el-Sheik conference was called in the aftermath of the Gaza crisis, which remains in danger of heating up. Israel ended its air and ground assault meant to halt rocket fire coming from Gaza about six weeks ago with a shaky cease-fire by both sides. Some 1,300 Palestinians _ at least half of them civilians _ and 13 Israelis died in the three-week offensive, officials have said.

Militants have continued to fire rockets sporadically into southern Israel, triggering retaliatory airstrikes.

Asked if a peaceful settlement was possible by year's end, Clinton indicated that the process will take a long time.

"I personally am very committed to this. I know that it can be done. I believe that with all my heart," she said, avoiding any timetable.

In a sign of a possible warming of relations with Syria, Clinton also shook hands and spoke briefly with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. They were not scheduled to meet but encountered each other during the daylong conference at this Red Sea resort, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Washington withdrew its ambassador from Damascus in 2005 to protest Syria's suspected role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus denied involvement in his death, but in the uproar that followed, it was forced to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, ending a 29-year military presence.

Clinton declined to discuss the specifics of her discussion but said: "In consultation with our friends and allies, our partners, we are reaching out to determine what, if any, areas of cooperation and engagement are possible, and that includes with respect to Syria."

Clinton, who is scheduled to travel this week to Jerusalem to consult with Israeli government officials and to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian officials, said the United States was pledging $900 million to the international aid effort for the Gaza Strip. She gave no breakdown of the funds, but her spokesman, Robert A. Wood, said on Sunday that it included $300 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza and about $600 million in budget and development aid to the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the West Bank.

"We cannot afford more setbacks or delays _ or regrets about what might have been, had different decisions been made," she said in apparent reference to the failure of previous peace initiatives, including those pushed vigorously by her husband's administration.

Clinton conducted a rapid-fire series of one-on-one meetings with Arab and other counterparts attending the conference. In an afternoon session with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, she expressed doubt that Iran would respond to Obama administration diplomatic overtures, according to a U.S. official who was present in the meeting. The official described the exchange for reporters on condition of anonymity because the session was private.

Clinton also met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and she attended a meeting of the so-called Quartet of international mediators _ the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations and Russia _ seeking to forge progress toward peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

At that session, Mitchell said that while the situation is difficult between Israel and the Palestinians he's sees opportunity for progress, according to the U.S. official. Mitchell stressed the need to consolidate a cease-fire in Gaza and he forecast that once Israel creates a new governing coalition it will be in position to improve living conditions in the West Bank.

The Obama administration is casting its Gaza and Palestinian Authority contributions as a calculated effort to ensure that the money does not reach Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza and is viewed by Washington as a terrorist organization and not a legitimate governing body.

Tom M (814)
Wednesday March 4, 2009, 3:14 pm
Thanks Blue, interesting story.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday March 4, 2009, 9:06 pm
Hamas bombing Israel, Israel bombing Hamas, peace process at full speed.

LucyKaleido S (82)
Sunday March 8, 2009, 1:50 am
I was actually amazed to find an unbiased (though it's bound to be criticised as pro-Palestian) report on the 'state' of the 2-state solution on mainstream media- this '60-minute' report by Bob Simon: Is Time Running Out For 2-State Solution - Has It Already ? A lot of points are covered in the 13-minute video, and a 4-page text version is written up alongside the video.

Pro-Palestinians on C2NN have already posted that the 2-state solution is dead & buried, and a great many in the Middle East, both Palestinians and Israelis, no longer have any hope for it, for one thing because of all the Israeli settlements that have been allowed to grow on the West Bank, and the settlers themselves who are acting out a 'mission' to block a future Palestinian state; and for another, because the only candidate for Prime Minister in Israel's recent elections who supported the two-state solution was Tzipi Livni, whose narrow one-seat victory and lack of more centrist allies, have given the government over to right wing and far right parties.

The report includes a terrible interview with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, once a candidate for Palestinian president, who was born & grew up in Jerusalem, and though he worked in a hospital there for 14 years, can never go back:

"While my heart still wants to believe that the two-state solution is possible, my brain keeps telling me the opposite because of what I see in terms of the building of settlements.

So, these settlers are destroying the potential peace for both people that would have been created if we had a two-state solution," Dr. Mustafa Barghouti told Simon.

And he told 60 Minutes Israel's invasion of Gaza - all the death and destruction in response to rockets from Hamas - convinces him that Israel does not want a two-state solution. "My heart is deeply broken, and I am very worried that what Israel has done has furthered us much further from the possibility of [a] two-state solution."

The two-state solution has been 'under discussion' for 15 years and come to nothing. Is Clinton just giving lip service to it, to convince the public that they are solidly behind peace efforts, or does the Obama administration think that they will be able to influence Israel's right-wing government now in power to dismantle all those fortress settlements to clear the way for a Palestinian state on the West Bank?

LucyKaleido S (82)
Sunday March 8, 2009, 1:53 am
I mean, "Clinton said President Barack Obama would continue the Bush administration's focus on seeking a two-state solution," and we know how FOCUSED that was!
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