Clinton's Middle East message seems to misfire
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's message on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks this weekend was not notably different from what President Barack Obama himself said in New York in September at a meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. But the prevailing perception and coverage in the wake of Clinton's meetings in Israel and Abu Dhabi Saturday are that the U.S. has once again returned to its traditional default position of tolerating Israeli unwillingness to abide by demands for a total settlement freeze and once again decided that the way forward is to pressure the Palestinians to cave.
While U.S. officials on Sunday pushed back forcefully on the veracity of that impression, news headlines have been uniformly grim in the region since Clinton appeared at a news conference in Jerusalem with a confident-looking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the late-night news conference, Clinton said that Netanyahu's offer to agree to a partial settlement moratorium in advance of actually entering negotiations with the Palestinians would be an "unprecedented" step.
Clinton walks back Israel settlements remarksLeadership: Abbas's middle name. Hillary must be desperate.
Marrakesh, Morocco_ After facing a barrage of press coverage that the U.S. has effectively sided with Israel in downplaying the issue of Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank in an effort to get Israel-Palestinian peace talks relaunched, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today walked back comments she made in Jerusalem at a late night news conference Saturday next to a beaming and self-confident Israeli Prime Minister.
Speaking at a luncheon meeting with Morocco's foreign minister in Marrakesh today, where Clinton is attending a conference of Arab foreign ministers, Clinton tried to clarify her previous remarks on the Obama administration's position on Israeli settlments.
"Israel has done a few things but needs to do much more," Clinton said, adding that the Obama administration's position is that it does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlment activity. But she also said Israel has put some limitations on itself, which if acted upon would be "unprecedented."
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas "has shown leadership and determination" regarding concerns over security, Clinton said, "and Israel should reciprocate."
Speaking of Abbas, apparently he is not in the mood to reciprocate--
From Palestinian Media Watch:
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.”In any case, today is a brand new day--no telling what it may bring.
“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 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.
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 2, 2009]
The articles and cartoon come after Clinton praised Israel for making concessions on the issue of settlements, and blamed the Palestinians for not resuming peace talks without prior conditions.
JustOneMinute--my source for the 2 Rozen posts--has more.