News / Asia

Clinton Says Middle East Status Quo 'Unsustainable'

Multimedia

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Israel's security, while urging the Jewish state to make difficult choices for peace.  Clinton, addressing the pro-Israel U.S. lobbying group AIPAC, said the status quo in the region is unsustainable.

The AIPAC speech, in the aftermath of an angry dispute over Israeli housing policy in Jerusalem, included soothing words about American backing for Israel, with Clinton saying the U.S. commitment to Israel's security and future is "rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever."

But Clinton also said the United States expects both Israel and the Palestinians to show flexibility as U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell works to convene indirect negotiations on so-called final status issues of the peace process.

She said continued conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors threatens Israel's long-term future as a secure and democratic Jewish state, and that the status quo is unsustainable for all sides.

"There is another path, a path that leads toward security and prosperity for Israel, the Palestinians and all the people of the region," she said.  "But it will require all the parties, including Israel, to make difficult but necessary choices.  Both sides must confront the reality that the status-quo of the last decade has not produced long-term security or served their interests."

Clinton's speech came two weeks after an Israeli announcement of new Jewish housing in East Jerusalem, coinciding with an Israel visit by Vice President Joe Biden that put a deep chill in the bilateral relationship.

The mini-crisis in relations has since been eased by reassurances by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that U.S. mediated Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks can deal with the core issues of the peace process, including Jerusalem.

But Mr. Netanyahu has said Israel will not freeze housing construction in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of a future state.

Clinton said U.S. criticism of Israel over the issue was not a judgment on Jerusalem's final status but about getting to the negotiating table and creating an "atmosphere of trust" around it.

"New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines that mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides say they want and need," she added.  "And it exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit. It undermines America's unique ability to play a role, an essential role, in the peace process."

Clinton, who said a two-state solution to the conflict is the only viable path for Israel, reiterated demands that the militant Palestinian movement Hamas, which controls Gaza, must renounce violence and recognize Israel if it wants to play a role in the peace process.

And she attacked, as pure and simple incitement, Palestinian charges that the rededication of a synagogue in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem's Old City earlier this month threatened Muslim holy sites.

The secretary, who said that forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States, said there is no greater strategic threat to Israel than the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.

"A nuclear-armed Iran would embolden its terrorist clientele and would spark an arms race that could destabilize the region," said Clinton.  "This is unacceptable. Unacceptable to the United States, it is unacceptable to Israel, and unacceptable to the region and the international community. So let me be very clear: the United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

Clinton said U.S. efforts at engagement, spurned by Iran, have stripped Tehran's leaders of what she termed "their usual excuses" and shown that Tehran is responsible for the nuclear impasse.

She said the U.S. aim is not incremental sanctions against Iran, but sanctions "that will bite" and she spoke of a growing international consensus to pressure Iran to change course.

She acknowledged the process is taking time, but that it is a worthwhile investment to win the broadest possible support for a new sanctions regime.

You May Like

Video Anti-Muslim Sponsor of Texas Cartoon Contest Draws Ire

Pamela Geller's supporters say she speaks truth about sensitive topic, while critics say she preaches 'that Islam is inherently evil' More

East Meets West in Exhibition Showing Chinese Influence on Fashion

Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition juxtaposes influence of art, imagery and culture, from Imperial China to the present day, on Western fashion and design More

South Africa Begins New Love Affair With Vinyl Records

Enthusiasts say the 'rebirth' of vinyl is resulting in a rebirth of music in South Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs