Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bold Gestures Obama Wanted; Clinton Committed

Hillary Clinton's reaction to Barack Obama's reflections:

(in response to this question)...Madame Secretary, very quickly, on the Middle East, President Obama today said in an interview with Time magazine that had you anticipated the problems that you were going to face trying to make progress on peace in the region, you would not have raised expectations so high. Clearly, the Administration has lost round one. Are you ready for round two?

SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to the Middle East, I think that you know we are absolutely committed. It doesn’t matter whether it’s round two or round 20. We believe that this is a situation that deserves constant, persistent attention, that the absence of such attention perhaps created some of the difficulties that we are now encountering.

But ultimately, as the President also said in his interview, this has to be between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The United States, the UK, the EU, the Arab League, everyone can work together to try to create the conditions for a resolution of the outstanding issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but at the end of the day, they must make that decision. So we are going to continue to do everything we can to create an environment in which that is possible. We have urged both the Israelis and the Palestinians to get back to the negotiating table and to start hashing out the very difficult, but we believe solvable problems that stand in the way of security for the state of Israel and a state for the Palestinians.

And here are Obama's musings:

...The other area which I think is worth noting is that the Middle East peace process has not moved forward. And I think it's fair to say that for all our efforts at early engagement, it is not where I want it to be.

Joe Klein: Why is that? My sense of it is that [U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George] Mitchell spent a number of months negotiating a settlement deal and saw some progress from the Israelis and kind of got blinded by that, because he didn't see that it wasn't sufficient progress for the Palestinians.

I'll be honest with you. A) This is just really hard. Even for a guy like George Mitchell, who helped bring about the peace in Northern Ireland. This is as intractable a problem as you get. B) Both sides — the Israelis and the Palestinians — have found that the political environment, the nature of their coalitions or the divisions within their societies, were such that it was very hard for them to start engaging in a meaningful conversation. And I think that we overestimated our ability to persuade them to do so when their politics ran contrary to that. From [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas' perspective, he's got Hamas looking over his shoulder and, I think, an environment generally within the Arab world that feels impatient with any process.

And on the Israeli front — although the Israelis, I think, after a lot of time showed a willingness to make some modifications in their policies, they still found it very hard to move with any bold gestures. And so what we're going to have to do — I think it is absolutely true that what we did this year didn't produce the kind of breakthrough that we wanted, and if we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high. Moving forward, though, we are going to continue to work with both parties to recognize what I think is ultimately their deep-seated interest in a two-state solution in which Israel is secure and the Palestinians have sovereignty and can start focusing on developing their economy and improving the lives of their children and grandchildren.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

His Jewboy aides probably suffer from bend-over-backwardness-to-please-the-goyim because they suffer acute inferiority and therefore dislike Israel and that's the "too high expectations".