Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Meets With Senior Officials in Jerusalem

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
November 1, 2009
Secretary Clinton Meets With Senior Officials in Jerusalem

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Secretary Clinton recently visited Jerusalem to meet with senior officials. During a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she stated:

"Thank you so much, Prime Minister. It is a great personal pleasure for me to be back in Jerusalem and a great honor to be here as Secretary of State once again. ... I appreciate the very positive words about the need to get back into a negotiation that would be in the best interests of Israel and Israel’s security, as well as create a state for the Palestinian people. Both President Obama and I are committed to a comprehensive peace agreement because we do believe that it holds out the best promise for the security and future of Israel, and for the aspirations of the Palestinians. ...I’m very much eager to begin those discussions. Full Text



Syrian P.
November 1, 2009

SNP in Syria writes:

Strange meeting arrangement, why neither Liberman or Ayalon present on the conference table. Maybe he is hidden behind Sec. Clinton.

November 2, 2009

Karen in Australia writes:

I am so disappointed again that U.S. foreign policy has been watered down to accept Israel's continued it's expansion in the occupied territories. Where is the differentiation between the Democrats and the Republicans on this issue? For goodness sakes - enough is enough. Justice for the Palestinians!!

BTW - so pleasing to see such strong representation by women at the negotiating table. Sorry, my mistake, there was only one at the table!!

November 2, 2009

Solomon in Madagascar writes:

Mr President of the United states of the America
Mr prime Ministre of the USA
Mm Secretary clinton of the Dep of State of the USA

To be the security defence and satbility Polititc and diplomacy International for the USA are enssure and stabilize total.
Mr President to be for we can confurme us Gestion of base Peace on time we must wait us confurmation of Autorized International ,Imediately we must send us US Army in Afganistan for Protection the all delegation of the UN in Afgan ,and confurme open the Armour Satelite for protect the Mr Secretary genertal and the Mr president of the Ansembly general of the UN and for Protect me for we can confurme and for contunie us work for Deliver peace and development in the World Nation.
thank for us copeartion to deliver us true peace and for protect the Democracy and Right of man in Afgan and in the World,congratulation Mr President.
To be I'm confurme for the we are the next and future President legale in Madagscar Nation and the us Organization are ready for send to became candidate and ready for Participle on defit election and for must earning the Winner.
I'm confurme for the all I'm already write on my and us security and for Unic symbole on lanch giuve order to beging us Worl Programe Against hard war on terrorism International and for Against Hard Armament Nuclear;
And we must Confurme and contunie us work and us desire of all moment need for remove the rate of growth economic for the USA powerfull.
Thank very much
The god us protege
Your Copeartion
President Executive

November 2, 2009

Cullen in Georgia writes:

The US must take a stronger stance with Israel - on settlements as well as human rights cases such as this one:

The case of Ms. Berlanty Azzam, a fourth year student at Bethlehem University in Bethlehem who was detained and deported to Gaza by the Israeli military on October 28, 2009. Ms. Azzam, 21 years old, is only few months away from completing her four year Bachelor's degree in business administration.

I urge the U.S. government to demand that Israel release on compassionate and humanitarian grounds this young woman, Ms. Berlanty Azzam and allow her to return to Bethlehem to complete her studies. She has not been accused of being a security threat and has committed no crime.

Permitting her to return to Bethlehem to complete her degree also would be in the spirit of the "Agreement on Movement and Access" negotiated between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in 2005. Acting in the spirit of the "AMA" is something that would actually be "unprecedented".

California, USA
November 2, 2009

Normita in California writes:

Secretary Clinton:

Thank you for your courage and perseverance in bringing people together for a dialogue. Friends and foes will eventually reach common ground through 'baby steps', one issue, one solution at a time.

You are the perfect person to facilitate these tough generations-old issues; keep it up, we are behind you.

God bless you in your journey.

Normita, a proud hillaryvillager

Brad B.
November 4, 2009

Brad B. writes:

It would be helpful if the US stopped being hypocritical in its current approach. Adding the demand of a settlement building freeze was ridiculous, impossible to implement and just gave Abbas another excuse to be recalcitrant. There were no such preconditions before. Real people live there. There's plenty of American land under tribal dispute. Will you apply the same rules there?

Another thing that has NEVER been addressed since Oslo is what Palestinian leadership tells and teaches its own people about all this. In a nutshell, they still intend to take over all of Israel. How will this be peaceful?

The fundamental concept being followed is that the Palestinian areas are to be Jew-free but Israel will be pressed to take more Arabs. Along with this, no Palestinian may be moved but Jews will be. This particularly rankled this year when the US criticized Israel for evicting some Arabs in Jerusalem for not paying rent, despite a definitive ruling after a long process, by the Israeli court. (These courts tend to be very pro-Arab.) Words cannot adequately express my disgust at this low blow by the US.

This administration is particularly off the mark on Jerusalem. Historical markers are:

1948 Glubb's Jordanian army captured East Jerusalem and all the Jews there were kicked out. The Jordanians desecrated every Jewish site they could find and Jews were denied access to their holy places. This practice of desecration has unfortunately continued on the Arab side: Joseph's Tomb, Temple Mount etc.

(There was no outcry at the UN about any of this. I believe this disqualifies any of the current complainers, UN, EU, State from even commenting.)

In 1967 Israel recaptured East Jerusalem. They left the Jordanian Waqf in charge of Al Aqsa -- Islam's 3rd holiest site and (on top of) Judaism's holiest site. Israeli police patrol the area and ensure that Jewish access is restricted. The religious sites of all religious are catered to. This is unmatched compromise and says unequivocally that Jerusalem must remain in Israeli hands or there will be a return to religious and other abuse of Jews and probably Christians.

District Of Columbia, USA
November 7, 2009

Derek in Washington, DC writes:

While I do think the construction of settlements is a legitimate grievance of the Palestinians, it is a mistake to require them as preconditions for negotiation.

It is one thing to get the ball rolling with small concessions as a means of gaining momentum towards full diplomatic engagement. When the concession asked for, however, taps a nerve at the very heart of the conflict, it may prove to be too heavy a weight to move at the onset. Such seems to be the case with regards to the settlement freeze, at least in Jerusalem.

I urge Secretary Clinton to pursue talks without pre-conditions, so that the "heavy" issues can finally be put into play and traded tit for tat, settlements for land, statehood for security.

November 14, 2009

Shimon in Canada writes:

The greatest obstacle to a Palestinian Israeli peace settlement today is the notion of a two state solution. Never a good alternative to begin with, the two state solution has monopolized peace making efforts to the point that no other alternative is being explored.

Recent history has frowned on political solutions based on the separation of people along racial or ethnic lines. Apartheid in South Africa, segregation in the U.S., the partition of the Indian sub-continent, the breakdown of Yugoslavia into warring factions are all examples of the long run futility of building fences rather than bridges.

The most compelling argument against the two state solution to the Arab/Jewish conflict is the simple fact that some 70 years after its first proposal, it still hasn't happened.

The first prerequisite to moving forward is an open mind..

The second prerequisite is the recognition and acceptance that justice will never be achieved. Too much blood has been shed, too many lives disrupted and shattered, and far to many chains of horror woven to ever be unraveled. The goal is not justice for all but solutions for all.

Finally, we must recognize that a true peace may not satisfy the desires of all parties but it must address every party's needs. We live not in an age of majority rule but of minority veto. A single Jewish fanatic with a revolver was able to halt the Oslo peace accords in their tracks. A handful of Palestinian suicide bombers were able to bury the process.

What are the core issues?

On the Jewish side there is an overwhelming concern for physical security. 2000 years of persecution culminating in the Nazi holocaust have led to a situation where the Jews, both in Israel and in the Diaspora will not accept a situation that would enable a repeat of the horrors of the death camps.

For the Palestinians, the 1948 civil war was a catastrophe, the catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes.

Any conceivable two state solution will either leave sizable, alienated and disaffected minorities in both states or will require the uprooting of tens or hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Either scenario is a recipe for the continuation of the conflict.

The only realistic outcome that could fill the needs of both peoples is a single political entity, based on the following principles:

1) The land between the Jordan and the sea is the historical homeland of the Jewish People, a people with long history of discrimination and oppression. As such, the new State shall guarantee in perpetuity, shelter to any person, anywhere in the world, persecuted for being Jewish.

2) The Palestinian refugees from the wars of 1948 and the ensuing conflicts have an unalienable right to return to their homeland.

3) No new refugees. The Israeli settlement policies of the last six decades have created a situation where in most cases, the return of refugees to their original homes would either be impossible or would require the displacement of the present residents. The reparation of Palestinian refugees shall be carried out in the framework of constructing homes and towns as close as possible to their original site without the uprooting of their present occupants.

4) The political structure, important as it may be, is secondary to a basic, unalterable social contract, guaranteeing the basic rights and responsibilities of the citizens.

The implications of the above points are far reaching. The first point requires the Arab population to accept and internalize a Jewish connection to the land while banishing fears of displacement or marginalization. Guaranteeing safe refuge to any person persecuted for being Jewish actually provides more protection than the present Israeli "Law of Return", which offers automatic citizenship to anyone defined as Jewish by religious law, but does not offer protection to those considered Jewish by anti-Semites that do not meet the requirements of Halacha.

The second point should be time-limited and would require massive construction/reconstruction as well as expansion of physical and economic infrastructure. This may seem daunting but so was the absorption of over a million Jews from the Soviet Union by Israel in the 1980's.

While the Jewish population will have to come to grips with the return of the Palestinian refugees, the Palestinians must accept the status quo of the Jewish settlements, both in Israel proper and in the occupied territories.
Peace making efforts have largely focused in the past on trying to build a consensus around the center majority. The key to success will be the drafting of a plan that is acceptable to the extremes of both camps. The above plan addresses the demands of the Israeli right wing to allow Jews to live anywhere in "Eretz Yisrael". It also addresses the demand for the return of all Palestinian refugees. The status of Jerusalem, another point of contention becomes irrelevant in the framework of a single state situation.


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