Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hillary and Israel

Hillary Clinton: tough on Israel, with time on her side

Hillary Clinton has put Binyamin Netanyahu on the spot while she and Barack Obama still have time to initiate a peace process

Ewen MacAskill, Wednesday 17 March 2010 23.00 GMT

Hillary Clinton has the potential to go one better than her husband. The former president left it late, much too late, to try to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the dying days of his presidency in 2000-2001, he led negotiations between the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, aimed at securing the elusive Middle East peace deal. While Israelis and Palestinians argue to this day about how close they came to an agreement, it collapsed.

The secretary of state has an advantage this time round in that the Obama administration signalled at the start of the presidency it was intent on tackling the Israeli-Palestinian question. She and Obama have almost another three years left and possibly almost another seven: long enough to get some sort of peace process underway.

Clinton, after a relatively quiet first year as secretary of state, showed her toughness over the last week in dealing with the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday, she spoke about the strong bonds between the two countries, a remark Netanyahu and others in Israel chose to interpret as a softening of her position. They were wrong. What mattered was what she said next: that she is waiting to hear Netanyahu's response to specific US demands for the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace to complete article

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