Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Arabs and Israelis to set aside their historical differences, avoid inflammatory rhetoric and put their efforts into attaining a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
In a speech at an international forum attended by senior government officials from the Mideast, North Africa and several major industrialized countries, Clinton struck a serious, cautious tone as she raised the matter of pursuing a comprehensive peace deal.
"I know this is a matter that is of grave and pervasive concern among the countries represented here, but even far beyond this region," she said. "We are committed to a two-state solution," she added, referring to the long-running U.S.-brokered effort to establish separate Israeli and Palestinian states. "And we are determined and persistent in the pursuit of that goal."
After speaking, Clinton was flying to Cairo for a hastily arranged meeting with senior Egyptian government officials, including President Hosni Mubarak. She had been scheduled to fly home Tuesday but said late Monday she would be traveling instead to Cairo to continue consultations on the peace process that she began Saturday in separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The decision appeared linked to Egyptian concern about signs of a recalibration of the U.S. approach to the peace process, The Associated Press reports.
It was also reported, Clinton is telling officials of the greater Middle East that President Barack Obama is determined to attain an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
At a conference attended by foreign ministers and other officials of the Middle East, North Africa and several major industrialized countries, Clinton also said that in pursuing the goal of Mideast peace, all parties should — in her words — "be careful about what we say."
She referred to the need to avoid recriminations that she said are understandable but harmful. She was not specific about her cautionary warning, The Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, a few weeks ago The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute convened in the United States. Daniel Shapiro, senior director of Middle East and North Africa at the U.S. National Security Council, attended the conference. Participants complained that Obama wasn't communicating with America's Jews and asked how far the president would go to pressure Israel. After the discussion Obama decided he would address the Jewish Federations' General Assembly.
The walls of Jericho don't come tumbling down with one speech, nor do the walls of hate for Israel in our region. Peace doesn't erupt as a result, either. The president's basic error was linking the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with his reconciliation policy with the Muslim world. Thus he drove Abbas to set every condition he could muster, Ha'aretz reports.