Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Clinton says two-state solution ‘inescapable’ for Middle East

Posted by claudiacampli su 3 marzo, 2009

Times

Hillary Clinton threw herself into the turmoil of the Middle East crisis today, backing the creation of a Palestinian state despite opposition from the incoming Israeli government, and dispatching high-level envoys to Syria to feel out the opportunities for regional talks.

At the same, Arab leaders met after a Gaza donors summit that Mrs Clinton had also attended in Egypt to urge unity in the face of the threat of a nuclear Iran, a fear that may push them into a more conciliatory position towards Israel, which also views Iran as the principle regional danger.

Mrs Clinton met with Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Foreign Minister, and like her urged continued dialogue with the Palestinian Authority to create an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“We happen to believe that moving towards a two-state solution is in Israel’s best interests,” Mrs Clinton said. The new administration of President Barack Obama “will be vigorously engaged” in pursuing that goal, she said.

Ms Livni said her US counterpart – on her first official visit to the Middle East since taking up her new post — had “shown a deep understanding of the needs of Israel.”

However, Ms Livni narrowly missed out on the chance of heading a new government after last month’s elections, and Mrs Clinton will in future be dealing with the right-wing Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who has refused to endorse the idea of a two-state solution and openly rejected the last round of peace talks initiated by the Bush government.

Mr Netanyahu, who is forming a far-Right government which Ms Livni has so far refused to join, was again elusive as to his intentions after meeting with Mrs Clinton. “Our shared goal is the need for creative thinking to move forward and out of the maze,” he said, adding that he had raised what he considers Israel’s most serious threat, Iran, in the discussions.

Mr Netanyahu and others on the Right warn that a Palestinian state could pose a threat to Israeli security, pointing to the example of Gaza, which Israel left in 2005 but whose Islamist rulers Hamas – backed by Tehran – continue to fire rockets at Israel. Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel as a state, has said it will not halt its attacks until Israel ends a longstanding blockade that has crippled the coastal strip

Many Palestinians are also losing hope in a two-state solution, pointing to the relentless expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank even under Ms Livni’s outgoing government.

A report this week by Peace Now, the leading Israeli anti-settlement group, said that the Israeli housing ministry had plans to build 73,000 more housing units in land that Israel conquered in the 1967 war, which would double the number of settlers and seriously impede any plans for an independent Palestinian state. Mr Netanyahu has said he would not freeze settlement expansion, and would offer only an “economic peace” to the Palestinians, with Israeli forces retaining security control of much of their land.

To deflect US pressure on him, Mr Netanyahu is widely expected to focus on talks with Syria, which Washington wants to hive off from its main regional ally Iran – now believed by US military chiefs to have enough uranium for a nuclear bomb.

A day after Mrs Clinton gave her Syrian counterpart a surprise handshake at the Gaza donors conference in Egypt, she announced she was dispatching two senior envoys to Damascus for preliminary conversations, reversing years of US isolation under President Bush, who labelled Syria part of his infamous “axis of evil.”

“We have no way to predict what the future with our relations concerning Syria might be,” Mrs Clinton said. The two envoys will be Jeffrey Feltman, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Dan Shapiro of the White House’s National Security Council.

In a sign that Mrs Clinton may be starting to invigorate a more regional approach to the challenge of Iran, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, urged a meeting of the Arab League to seriously consider ways of confronting Iran as it develops its nuclear capabilities. Many Gulf states are wary of Iran’s spreading regional influence and the power it exerts over Arab militias such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, as well as Syria.

“In order to cement Arab reconciliation we need a common vision for issues that concern Arab security and deal with the Iranian challenge,” including its nuclear drive, the prince said.

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