Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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

Hillary Clinton warns Israel over settlements and house demolitions

Posted by claudiacampli su 4 marzo, 2009

Times

Hillary Clinton made further awkward demands of the incoming Israeli government today as she pledged to tackle the construction of settlements on occupied land and criticised plans to demolish Arab homes in East Jerusalem.

Speaking alongside Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the US Secretary of State repeated her desire to work towards a two-state solution, which would see a Palestinian state established alongside Israel as part of a permanent peace settlement.

Her comments will pile the pressure on Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been asked by President Shimon Peres to form Israel’s next coalition government. The hawkish Likud party leader has said that he does not support a two-state solution, and wants to simply help the economic development of the territory while it remains under Israeli control.

“The United States aims to foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realised,” Mrs Clinton said, after talks with Mr Abbas. “Time is of the essence.”

Questioned about the impact of the planned destruction of more than 80 dwellings in Arab East Jerusalem, disclosed this week, the Secretary of State said: “Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the roadmap (for peace).

“It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government in Israel and the government at the municipal level in Jerusalem because it is clearly a matter of deep concern.”

East Jerusalem was occupied from Jordan by Israeli forces during the 1967 war and united with the Jewish-inhabited Western part of the city.

Israel says the homes in question were built without permits, but local Arab residents say that gaining authorisation from the local municipality is almost impossible.

On settlements, Mrs Clinton stopped short of calling for an immediate cessation of building in the occupied West Bank, but said that she would make representations on the matter to the Israeli government.

“We will be looking for a way to put it on the table along with all the other issues that need to be discussed and resolved,” she said.

“I think at this time, we should wait until we have a new Israeli government. That will be soon and then we will look at whatever tools are available.”

President Obama has pledged to vigorously pursue Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which were relaunched in November 2007 to much fanfare but ultimately with little effect.

The talks have been complicated by the military takeover of Gaza by Hamas, the Islamist militant group, which threw out forces allied to Mr Abbas. Hamas refuses to renounce terrorism and frequently fires rockets into Israel.

Mrs Clinton also urged Israel to allow more humanitarian supplies into war-shattered Gaza, which was last January the arena for a bloody war between the Israeli Army and its Islamist rulers.

“We have obviously expressed concerns about the border crossings. We want humanitarian aid to get into Gaza in sufficient amounts to alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza,” she said.

Mr Abbas made a similar call, saying: “The incoming Israeli government … (must) respect the roadmap and two-state solution and should stop all settlement activity and reopen the border crossings.”

A day after her visit to Israel, Mrs Clinton spent her visit to the West Bank holding talks with Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister, and visiting a school in Ramallah.

In what was her first visit to the region since her appointment, she has announced that she is sending two envoys to Syria and pledged to pursue regional peace efforts.

The despatch of the Syrian envoys, to be made by the end of the week, will be the highest level contacts made between the countries since January 2005.

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