Blogwatch

March 3, 2009
Clinton talks two-state solution, Syria on visit to Israel

On her visit to Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a significant overture to Syria for the first time since the U.S. broke off relations with Damascus in 2005, saying the U.S. would send two representatives to Syria.

Amjad Atallah, the co-director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, joins Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss the future of relations with Syria and other issues examined during Clinton’s visit.

Joshua Landis at the “Syria Comment” blog writes what the announcement may mean for the future of U.S.-Syria relations:

Clinton’s deliberate handshake with Syria’s Foreign Minister at the Gaza donor Conference promises a thaw in Syria-U.S. relations. [...]

All the same, some things seem not to be changing. The US is still seeking to “flip” Syria away from Iran, which Hillary doubts can be pursuaded to fall in with America’s regional security designs. (More promising would be an effort to engage both, rather than trying to split them). Hillary has set out strict preconditions for U.S. support for Israeli-Syrian dialogue. Syria must cut relations with its allies, Hizbullah and Hamas. The demand that Syria abandon its supporters and friends before entering into full dialogue with the US is no more likely to work under Obama than it did under Bush. Why? Because Syria fears that the US will again fail to deliver Israel, as it did under Bill Clinton in 2000. Netanyahu will decline to return the Golan, as he promised during his campaign, and Syria will be left without a deal and with with no friends or regional leverage. Syria suspects this is, in fact,  Washington’s desired outcome - to weaken Syria.

Clinton also said the movement toward the creation of a Palestinian state is, as she put it, “inescapable.” She met with Israel’s Prime Minister-designate, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, who said they found “common ground,” even though Netanyahu opposes a two-state solution.

The “Jerusalem Watchman” blog describes the fine line that Netanyahu must walk with the U.S. in terms of the two state question:

Netanyahu, who is being urged by many to withstand these pressures, is trying to walk a fine line. [...] Naturally enough, he does not want to embark on his second term in office already at loggerheads with the new most powerful man in the world. He has been there before. He knows, too, the value of the American Alliance Asset that Israel values and has long sought to protect.

Hillary Clinton meets the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat.

Times have moved on since Clinton’s husband occupied the White House. The new president is an entirely different kettle of fish. And he has a whole administration, together with a well-weighted Capitol Hill, to back his engagement in the Middle East.

As Hillary comes barreling in, Bibi is likely hoping for all the prayers he can get.

Edward Walker, a former assistant secretary of state and a former ambassador to Israel, describes his interactions with Netanyahu at the “Mideast Peace Pulse” blog:

The Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu who I worked with while I was our Ambassador to Israel, was certainly conservative in his viewpoint, and he was tough when it came to military action.  But, at the same time, he was pragmatic when it came to the interests of Israel and to his own political interests and that of his party. [...]

With Israel’s best interests in mind, Netanyahu has to consider the impact of his policies on his relationship with the new American administration and President.  As a pragmatist, Bibi has no need to rule out negotiations with the Palestinians or a two state solution.  So long as the Palestinians are divided politically, no two state solution is possible – and that will not be Israel’s or Bibi’s fault.

Blogger Daoud Kuttab attended Clinton’s press conference in Israel and describes asking her a question about the conflict in Gaza:

The Gaza Reconstruction conference was a busy affair. Speakers gave talks governments and foundations made pledges and politicians debated all day. In the end it was left to the key players to tell the press about the results of the all day event.

While the question and answer period was over, I was called on to meet privately with the Secretary. [...] I asked her about the blockade on Gaza. My question focused on her interest in children and I asked her what is the fault of a Palestinian child to be taken hostage by politicians. Despite her earlier emotional plea for the children of Palestine, this question failed to move her and she began an often repeated routine of faulting the rockets for the Israeli attacks. Hamas actually provokes Israel to respond was the gist of what she was saying. I was unhappy with the answer but was aware that my time was out.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user U.S. Department of State under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments

31 comments

#31

david hoffman how dare you talk about the holocaust like that the palestinians would bring hitler from the dead if they could and you know it

#30

Boris: All what you have been doing to the Palestinians is not enough. Killing them, destroying their farms, cutting their trees, dividing their villages, bringing Russians like you with names like Boris who never knew what Judaism is, and most likely converted to immigrate out from Russia. Building settlements on their land and ethnically cleansing them from their cities especially Jerusalem and Hebron. So what is next Gas Champers, to be real Nazis. Have some shame, and acknowledge your guilt

#29

to David Hoffman: Stop using cheap propaganda and lie it works only for dummy crowd of so call “human right activists”. Under real Nazi occupation Palestinian may disappear in 1968, but under “Israeli occupation” population grow almost twice. They are drinking coffee in Sawbucks, eating sandwiches in Jack in box and some driving Mercedes!! Jerusalem was, is and will be Capital of Israel.

#28

Boris: So if the Russians and Polish wronged you, you want to wrong the Palestinians. WaW brilliant. I think the problem is that the Palestinians are paying for the Holocaust that they had nothing to do with. All of you have a problem with Germany and now it’s the Palestinians who must pay. Germany is not Palestine and the Palestinians will prevail in spit of all your hatred and thirst for blood. Boris, I know you are not a politician and you are not a human either. Your Friend (Just Got Educated) JGE has many problems with Jews speaking the truth about war crimes by your army. As for Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel, keep dreaming

#27

to David Hoffman and Susan Walsh: I am not a politician and not afraid to be politically incorrect. I can give to you “Russian” explanation “why is Israel building settlements and cleansing Palestinians from Jerusalem”: Jewish boys and girls from Russia, Poland, Romania and rest exile countries, defend Israel in all wars and conflicts initiated by Arabs since 1948 and liberate the Holy Land from Arab occupation. The Holy Land belongs to Jews and Jerusalem was and will be Capital of Israel. Mr. David Hoffman, you make me laugh, I am suggesting you to pay more respect to “Russian boy”. For you I am not a good blogger, but for Israel, I and most Russian boys and girls, we are very good soldiers, officers, pilots, engineers, scientists, software programmers…

#26

DisHonest (DH) you are now criticizing Syria? In your limited knowledge, the head of Hamas lives in Syria and sends orders to hia pawns in Gaza. The arms coming from Iran go through Syria to Hamas (Gaza) and Hezbollah (Lebanon). So pay attentiion to the situation. It is clear that your hatred against Israel doesn’t let you see clear. Amazing, DisHonest hides behind a Jewish sounding name and keeps attacking Israel. Poor Palestinians that have DisHonest as a defender. Back to the drawing board.

#25

Poor Palestinians, they have DisHonest (DH) hiding behind a Jewish name spreading his hatred towards Israel. The vote is in DisHonest should go back to his narguila, black coffee, water his camels and donkeys and enjoy the belly dancers. Poor Palestinians, with friends like DisHonest they are more and more miserable.

#24

Proximity to civilians during warfare
During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, the Israeli government and military criticized Hamas for blending into or hiding among the Palestinian civilian population.[163] The Israeli government published what it said was video evidence of human shield tactics by Hamas.[164] Israel also claimed that Hamas frequently used mosques as hideouts and places to store weapons,[165][166] and that Hamas paramilitary soldiers stored weapons in their homes, making it difficult to ensure that civilians close to legitimate military targets are not hurt during Israeli military operations.[167] Former Shin Bet head Avi Dichter has claimed that Gaza’s Shifa Hospital is used as a meeting place and hiding place for Hamas.[168]

#23

JGE: The Palestinians are not poor and are not in need for any to protect them. All they need is people like you to stop killing them. You are a product of the Colonial spin machine that began convoluting the Jewish mind after 1948, and 1967. Your ultimate objective is to spin facts under very cheap covers. You moved from anti-Semitism, to anti Israeli and who knows what is next. I invite bloggers to read or old blogs that I have answered all your spins with historical facts. You have a serious problem as a supporter of the only apartheid state on earth. You coming back to factions and states in the Middle East that have nothing to do with the question of Palestine and your shameful legacy of killing children is the biggest proof of it. In the West Bank and Jerusalem there is no resistance to Israel, can you explain why is Israel building settlements and ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Jerusalem. Look what is happening in Silwan, and Shik Jrah, Hebron the old city, Nablus the hills and many more where Jews move as if it is the Wild West demolish Arab homes or evict native citizens from their homes, just because they are Arabs (Christians and Muslims). You cite the Alwi regime of the Assads who are learning from you how to kill. All your points have been answered before, all what you have to do is go read history I think your name stands for (Just Got Educated) is not good enough for me. Go learn and then blog and you should teach this Russian boy Boris with you and you may get M. Levey and Dorn to join in a seminar at the Israeli Foreign Ministry for talking points. Usually they teach you to keep repeating three to five points. You have done a bad job so far.

#22

Joe: None is blaming Israel for defending itself, but people are talking about war crimes and occupation. See there is a huge difference between self-defense and occupation on the one hand and self-defense and war crimes on the other. I am amazed that you are unable to distinguish between the two.

#21

I truly dont understand how some of you people couldnt honestly blame Israel for defending themselves. Israel stopped their assault on Hamas and how do they repay them, by firing rockets into thier country. They lift the blockades and they send in suicide bombers. I am tired of people getting mad at Israel because they are defending themselves and they are jewish.

#20

DisHonest (DH) has dyslexia anti-Israel. Whatever DisHonest cites only history anti-Israel Hey Islamic fanatics don’t exist, massacres by the Arabs never happened, well DisHonest even denies the existence of the Palestinians. Poor DisHonest he is drowning in his own venomous saliva. And worst of all he hides behind a Jewish sounding name. Hamas and Hezbollah kill their own civilians and DisHonest finds it to mbe OK.

#19

DisHonest (DH) you have a hard time puting your brain in gear. Your hatred of Israel is your only metric. You lie, deceive and hate. Palestinians will go nowhere with dishonest defenders. Hamas has been killing their own civilians, just check with the people in Gaza. Hezbollah uses the same tactics. Israel will defend itself from criminals. Poor Palestinians that can not defend themselves from their masters Iran, Syria, and they become more miserable with inept defenders like DisHonest. Have you read any Arab free press? There is none. When DisHonest reads Israeli free press he uses it for his hatred of Israel.
Take hold of yourself, Israel will defend itself, explain it to your masters: Hams, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and the other gangs.

#18

JGE: I have debated you before, I know the limits of your knowledge and intelligence. You are a brain washed individual. You should never compare two wrongs. You must always compare between the good and the better. All Jews who have been writing on this website: Boris, M.Levey, Dorn, you and many more who do not have the courage to use their full names have been comparing between bad and worse. Syria is bad, Israel is worse, Iran is bad Israel is worse. I feel your pain after you have exposed by an Israeli newspaper, too bad you can not use anti-Semitism against her. Imagine holding five people the youngest is 60 under the cover of self defense for so many days and not allowing them any normal life. So you have red something abut the Syrians, I am debating the Palestinian question with you. I have no doubts in my mind that the Syrian regime is a brutal thuggish regime, just like the Israeli one. The fact that Syrian kills civilians does not mean that Israel kills too. Read what Michael Palumbo wrote about the Israeli massacres against the native Palestinians. All documented and the based on UN archives. The last people on earth to talk about morality and ethics are Jews like you who justify killing and justify two wrongs make right.

#17

Boris: I need not to open wWakapidia or anything. Just read How Israel was Won. Then I will look at cheap websites that have no academic values

#16

To David Hoffman and Susan Walsh: go to Wikipedia and open: Arab conquests of: N. Africa, Egypt, Middle East, Byzantine, Spain …
Or go to library and read real history: “the Great Arab Conquests” by Hugh Kenndy, 2007.

#15

Here is a fact that DisHonest (DH) will never report. Massacre commited by Hafez al-Assad (Father of Bashar al-Assad, present dictator of Syria) This took place in February of 1982. And is from the Wikipedia. Is typical os Islamic fanatics in action.
“According to Amnesty International, the Syrian military bombed the old streets of the city from the air to facilitate the introduction of military forces and tanks through the narrow streets, where homes were crushed by tanks during the first four days of fighting. They also claim that the Syrian military pumped poison gas into buildings where insurgents were said to be hiding.
The army was mobilized, and Hafez again sent Rifaat’s special forces and Mukhabarat agents to the city. After encountering fierce resistance, Rifaat’s forces ringed the city with artillery and shelled it for three weeks. Afterward, military and internal security personnel were dispatched to comb through the rubble for surviving Brothers and their sympathizers.[4] Then followed several weeks of torture and mass executions of suspected rebel sympathizers, killing many thousands, known as the Hama Massacre. Estimates of casualties vary from an estimated 7000 to 35,000 people killed, including about 1000 soldiers. [5] Journalist Robert Fisk, who was in Hama shortly after the massacre, estimated fatalities as high as 10,000.[6] The New York Times estimated the death toll as up to 20,000.[2] According to Thomas Friedman[7] Rifaat later boasted of killing 38,000 people. The Syrian Human Rights Committee estimates 30,000 to 40,000 were killed. Most of the old city was completely destroyed, including its palaces, mosques, ancient ruins and the famous Azzem Palace mansion. After the Hama uprising, the Islamist insurrection was broken, and the Brotherhood has since operated in exile while other factions surrendered or slipped into hiding. Government attitudes in Syria hardened considerably during the uprising, and Assad would rely more on repressive than on political tactics for the remainder of his rule, although a partial re-liberalization began again in the 1990″s.

#14

DisHonest (DH) uses Israeli free press to document his kies and distortions.
He never heard of an Arab free press, he denies the existence of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, he probaly denies the existence of Palestinians.
Massacres commited by the Islamic fanatics killing Israelies DisHonest never mentions. Poor Palestinians that have such a DisHonest (DH) defender. Conclusion is that DisHonest wants Palestinians to be more and more miserable.

#13

DisHonest (DH) besides being a lier, now he tries insults. Characteristic of his continued hatred of Israel. Poor Palestinians that have such DisHonest dfender. Let Hamas, Hizbollah, Iran, Syria continue being masters of the Palestinians, they make them more miserable than ever. And DisHonest continues blabering lies that do not convince anybody. Poor Palestinians indeed.

#12

Doris: Both you and JGE are thugs who have been killing Palestinians for a long time and loving it. you must be ashemed of what you have been doing. Boris go learn english and real history before you blog.

#11

to David Hoffman:Israeli newspaper Haaretz is investigating war crimes committed by Israeli army. I think this is positive facts which show a huge difference between Israeli and Arab society. Arabs newer even think to investigate, they always deny and lie.
During the history Arabs kills many millions of people and occupied many countries. There was not “International Court of Justice” hundreds years ago but crime didn’t disappear and they will be judge directly by G..d. Jews people don’t have “great colonial logic”, we just want our Land back, we are not “killer like your own state”, and we have to kill to defend our self from states who wants to “erase Zionist entity”.

#10

JGE: You are wrong and you are a killer like your own state. I am not spreading any lies, I am bringing facts from your own newspapers. There is a huge difference between protecting yourself and occupying and killing another people. Israeli conducts are war crimes by all means. Haaretz is not a Hamas or a Fatah news paper, it’s the oldest Zionist newspaper in Israel. This is one single investigation. We will wait and see when the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court, begin hearing more cases. Thank God for technology, all documents on cell phones and cameras, not like Dire Yassin, Kfour Kasem, Samoou, Falouja, Qtmoon, Hebron, and many more massacres that the Jews have been committing against the native Palestinians. I am dishonest but reporting facts and your honest but spreading lies, great colonial logic.

#9

Does Doud expects Israel not to defend itself? Does Doud asked Hamas to protect their children, and ask them why they fire rockets at Israel who protects their children in shelters? Is Doud afraid to ask Hamas these questions? No wonder fanatic IIslamic criminals are controlling the Palestinians and killing their own people. Is laughable, naive and sad that people like Doud represent their own people.

#8

Dorn L is right. Peter johnson is wrong . As long as the Palestinians are not accountable they will be in constant misery. Peter Johnson is wrong, the Arabs attacked Israel, and Israel defends itself. Let us be truthful and not biased and dishonest or ignorant. There is no freedom under Hamas, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Fatah, and on and on. Poor Palestinians they are poorer and poorer and poorer. Give a person one fish and he will eat one day, teach a person to fish and he will eat forever!

#7

Boris: I think Daoud is right to address the question to Israel and not to Arab governments. After all, Israel is the country that has been killing Palestinians of all ages since 1948. Indeed some Arab Governments have been helping Israeli achieve its goals (Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) all these countries have been working against the Palestinians with Israel, but the sole responsibility of Palestinian safety resets on Israeli shoulders due to the occupation. International law is very clear that the occupying power can not build settlements and can not move settlers from into occupied land

#6

To Daoud Kuttab: Unfortunately for Palestinian children they are “taken hostage by Arab politicians (not by US and Israeli). You should address your questions to Hamas bosses in Iran and Syria!

#5

A “two-state solution”? What about a One-State Solution?

Scientific studies have concluded that scriptures make good compost.

The desert could bloom again.

Neil P. (Atlanta)

#4

I think the time is getting late about a two-state solution. Palestine has never had the ear of the world community. They have told us since the beginning that they were invaded and victimized. The world does not want to hear it. After all, the philosophical foundations of the West begin in Eden and the Palestinians are linked to those superstitions and their delusions as outsiders when it comes the favorite people.

Now the world has become very small. Eden has shrunk into oblivion. Progressive minds have come into being. Now we are learning the hard lessons that injustice and the lack of compassion between humans is now manifest in the demise of the whole of human civilization.

I think the time is getting late - maybe too late for us to find the true Eden where universal ideas prevail and not a single child dies unjustly.

A two-state solution - immeditately? That is the least we can do for the Palestians.

Niila Keshava

#3

Hamas may talk about expelling Jews in it charter, but the Israelis are expeling Palestinians from their lands and their homes as we speak. So between those who wish it and those who are doing it is big difference. All one asks is that the Dorns of the world wake up

#2

I personally agree with Prof D. Lubinsky and wish PEOPLE WOULD PAY ATTENTION AND STANDS FIRM IN SUPPORT FOR ISREAL BECAUSE THERE IS SEEMS TOI BE NO CHANCE FOR PEACE. I HAVE TO SAY THAT HILARY CERTAINLY HAS REAL IMAGINATION.

#1

Dear WorldFocus,
Tonight (Tue 3 March), Daljit Daliwal reported on Hilary Clinton’s trip to Israel, and went onto interview Amjad Atallah of the Mid East Task Force of a US policy grouping.

I admire Ms. Daliwal’s balance, but tonight she lost it. She talked of Mr. Netanyhau’s rejection of a Palestinian state. She asked Mr. Atallah about the effect of a new Israeli government. Predictably he dumped on Israel. Both he and Ms. Daliwal placed all the emphasis on Israel making concessions.

What about Palestinian (and broader Arab) rejectionism? On the one hand there is Hamas, which controls Gaza, and was elected by a substantial majority of adult Gazans. Its stated goal is to destroy Israel and kill, expel all Jews. Its charter is worse than Mein Kampf. It has fired 120 missiles into Israel SINCE the new “ceasefire”.

On the other hand, there is Fatah, which governs the West bank, and which has fought several mini wars with Hamas. Its leader Mahmoud Abbas sticks to every hardline position of Arafat. In particular, he demands resettlement of Arab refugees in pre-1967 Israel, not the West Bank. This denies the rights of the equivalent number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It also sidesteps Arab culpability in starting the wars that led to both Arab and Jewish refugees.

When Fatah and Hamas cannot make peace with each other, and neither even accepts Israel as a Jewish state, behind even the 1967 boundaries, what chance is there of peace? And which side is more rejectionist?

So why do you continue to blame Israel? Finally, as regards Netanyahu: Netanyhau has said he has not ruled out a Palestinian state when it won’t be
a base for attacking Israel. He has emphasized building up the Palestinian economy too. He has also pointed out the lesson of Gaza: how Israeli territorial handovers have become bases for sending rockets into Israel.

Prof. D. Lubinsky (Atlanta)

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