US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday pressed the Palestinian
Authority to return to direct negotiations, saying the process
represents "not just the best but the only path to the independent state
"We have to convince Palestinians that
negotiations with Israel represent not just the best but the only path to
the independent state they deserve," Clinton said at the Saban Forum in
Washington, DC. "Israel needs to help those committed to peace deliver
to their people."
The remarks came just a day after the Palestinians were granted non-member status at the United Nations General Assembly.
presented four main US policy goals pertaining to Israel and the Middle
East. First, Clinton emphasized the need to prevent Iran from attaining
nuclear weapons. "Iranian-made missiles and rockets launched from Gaza
at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem drove home what we already know," she said.
"The International community must prevent Iran from developing a nuclear
She added: "The Iranian regime already exports
terrorism. Not only to Israel's doorstep, but across the world... We do
not have a policy of containment. We have a policy of prevention."
left room for negotiations over Iran's illicit nuclear program, but
said the "window for negotiation will not stay open forever."
second goal was to ensure the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza
remains intact. "America and Israel have to work together... to turn the
cease-fire into a lasting calm," she said, reiterating her support for
Israel's right to self-defense.
Third, Clinton said Israel must
work to promote Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, despite
his unilateral moves at the UN. "Abbas took a step in the wrong
direction this week," she said. "We opposed his resolution. But we need
to see that the PA in the West Bank offers the" best chance for
achieving a two-state solution.
Her remarks contrasted with
comments made at the same conference by Foreign Minister Avigdor
Liberman, who took sharp aim at Abbas for his unilateral moves for
statehood at the UN. "Hamas is more effective and has more political will and determination than Abbas," Liberman said, after accusing him of trying to divert attention from domestic policy failures.
Clinton's fourth policy goal was that the US and Israel should support movements for democratic change in the Arab world.
devoted a significant part of her speech to touting the US-Israel
relationship, both in peacetime and in wartime. "For years we have told
you, our Israeli friends, that America has Israel's back," she said.
"When Israel responded to a rain of rockets... America's next move was
never in question. The fragile cease-fire is holding. The skies above
Israel are clear. And we are beginning to see the efforts to rebuild and
resume daily life. But the world knows, and always will know, that
whenever Israel is threatened the United States will be there."