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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Clinton: Escalating with Israel is 'paying off'

Hillary Clinton told the BBC's Kim Ghattas on Friday that escalating pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was 'paying off.'
Ghattas: You took a risk in escalating the tone with Israel last week, I understand the relationship is solid but the Israelis could have said we never promised restraint on settlments in east Jerusalem,- is the risk paying off?

Clinton: I think we're going to see the resumption of the negotiation track and that means that it is paying off because that's our goal. Let's get the parties into a discussion, let's [get] the principle issues on the table and let's begin to explore ways that we can resolve the differences.

Ghattas: Is the pressure on the Israeli prime minister meant to be a moment of clarity, either he delivers on his commitment to peace, or his right wing coalition falls?

Clinton: We're not taking any position and we have no particular stake in who the Israelis choose to govern them.They're a democracy and they make that choice. I think that different parts of govern make action or statements that are not in the best interest of the government as a whole and I think what the Prime Minister has said repeatedly is that his government and he personally are committed to pursuing these negotiations and he just has to make sure that he brings in everyone else, that's his responsibility it's not something that the United states can or is interested in doing.
I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, Bibi should have said "we never promised to freeze building in Jerusalem." In fact, Bibi was quite explicit that we were going to continue to build in Jerusalem.

On the other hand, I think Bibi is getting the better of this round. In all the reports of what he's agreed to give, nothing is explicit. It seems that he has given nothing on Ramat Shlomo and in fact, he may be legally unable to give anything because Israeli law may not allow him to stop building in Jerusalem. I may change my mind if I see a large terrorist release or some critical roadblocks opened, but so far, I really haven't seen anything that Bibi's given to resolve this manufactured 'crisis.'

Please tell me I'm not missing something.


At 1:54 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - Israel's leftist media claimed that Netanyahu surrendered on all points - on building in Jerusalem, gestures to the PA and and a commitment to discuss core issues in proximity talks. We'll see if they actually bear out over the next week.

On the other hand, we have Foreign Minister Lieberman on record as ruling out territorial concessions to the Palestinians and Jerusalem being non-negotiable.

It will become clear if Clinton and the Israeli media are correct or if Lieberman speaks for the government in due course.

What difficult to fathom is what exactly the US got for putting Israel through the ordeal: a delay of the Ramat Shlomo project til the fall, Israel's advancing goodwill gestures to the Palestinians that would have been made anyway and a promise to build quietly in the future. I'd call that amateur hour in Obama diplomacy. It certainly wasn't worth the price of a rupture in relations with Israel.

And if Haaretz and Yediot Acharonot are right the Americans forced Netanyahu to back down it just makes extracting Israeli concessions on the core issues that much harder. And the Quartet's condemnation of Israel did nothing to help advance real peace in the region.

But you'd have to be completely ignorant of Israel not to see that and what's the likely aftermath of the Obama assault upon the Jewish State is going to be. Not I think, what Clinton had in mind.

At 4:53 AM, Blogger MUSLIM CONSERVATIVE said...

I pray that Netanyahu puts Obama and his idiots in their rightful place. Hilary Clinton is the Secretary of State and she has no right or authority to disrespect the Leader of Israel or any country if Obama wants to betray a friend he should do it himself. I am a Muslim who stands behind Israel against my country and our idiot in chief


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