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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid