Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Clinton backtracks

Remember all those nice comments US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made about Israel on Sunday? Well, they were not very pleasing to 'our Arab friends' and so, like President Obama's 2008 comments to AIPAC about Jerusalem, they have gone under the bus. Here is a summary of the Arab reaction to Clinton's statements on Sunday.
The official Palestinian Authority daily has accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of taking bribes from Israel and wallowing in “a swamp of lies.”

“Why, Mrs. Hillary? How much did the Zionists pay you as a bribe?” taunted an article in today’s edition of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, which is controlled by the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Another article in the paper accused Clinton of lying:

"Words that treat truth with cruelty and wallow in the swamp of lies, especially coming from a person of senior position, are improper… [such are] the words of US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 2, 2009]

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida also ran a cartoon reiterating a longstanding Palestinian claim that the US is controlled by Jews. It shows an Uncle Sam figure looking into a mirror held by a caricature of a hook-nosed religious Jew, wearing a hat with a Star of David. Instead of seeing his own reflection, the American sees the Jew in the mirror.
Here's Clinton's backtracking in response.
Secretary Clinton delivered the following remarks Monday morning at a camera spray upon meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Fassi-Fihri in Marrakech, Morocco:

For 40 years, successive American administrations of both parties have opposed Israel’s settlement policy. That is absolutely a fact.

And the Obama Administration’s position on settlements is clear, unequivocal. It has not changed. And as the President has said on many occasions, the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. Now, the Israelis have responded to the call from the United States, the Palestinians and the Arab world to stop settlement activity by expressing a willingness to restrain settlement activity. They will build no new settlements, expropriate no land, allow no new construction or approvals.

And let me just say this offer falls far short of what we would characterize as our position, or what our preference would be. But if it is acted upon, it will be an unprecedented restriction on settlements and would have a significant and meaningful effect on restraining their growth.

Let me take a step back because I want to put this into the broader context. I will offer positive reinforcement to the parties when I believe they are taking steps that support the objective of reaching a two-state solution.

I will also push them as I have in public and in private to do even more. And in my report to the President last month, I talked about Israeli willingness to restrain settlement activity as a positive step.

In the same report, I praised President Abbas’ leadership of the Palestinian Authority for their courage and the security measures on the West Bank. The steps being taken under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayed are also unprecedented and we have never seen such effective security. I have on many occasions going back – as you know in Sharm El Sheikh - praised the accomplishments that the Palestinian Authority has demonstrated in building, training, and reforming their security forces.

I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that these positive steps on the part of the Palestinians should be met by positive steps from Israel - movement and access, operations by the IDF and on Israeli security arrangements on the West Bank. Israel has done a few things in that regard but they need to do much more. And President Abbas has shown leadership and determination on this issue and Israel should reciprocate.

I just want to clarify that what we are trying to achieve is a two-state solution with a state that represents the aspirations of the Palestinian people – the sovereignty and to have control over their own future, and provide the security guarantees to Israel for their own future. That is my goal. And when either party takes any steps that looks like it moves us in the right direction – even if it is not what I would like or what I would prefer - I’m going to positively reinforce that.

This is an opportunity for both sides to try to move forward together, to get into negotiations, and to realize the goal that many of us around this table have supported and worked for for many years.
What could go wrong?

By the way, the only US President other than Obama not to accept the 'legitimacy of settlements' was Jimmy Carter. The others called them 'obstacles to peace' (which many people now understand that they are not) but never questioned their legitimacy or legality.


At 5:54 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Hillary Clinton didn't really backtrack as much as restate US policy in a manner more pleasing to Arab ears. However the truth is the Palestinians can expect little US help due to their own intransigence. Since they aren't prepared to even talk to Israel, the matter of Israeli concessions will remain a moot point. After all, they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

Heh! Never trust politicians when they make a statement in Israel or to Israelis/Jews. They always backtrack at some point. They are all liars.


Post a Comment

<< Home