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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More