March 3rd, 2009
05:45 AM ET
13 years ago

Clinton meets Israeli leaders in quest for Mideast peace

JERUSALEM, Israel (CNN) - As Israel's prime minister-designate struggles to form a government, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began a full day of meetings with Israeli political leaders.

At a morning meeting Tuesday with President Shimon Peres, Clinton repeated her warnings that rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel "must cease."

Clinton said she did not understand the motivation behind the attacks and called them cynical, adding that "any nation, including Israel, cannot stand idly by when its territory and people are subjected to rocket attacks."

Clinton, accompanied by the U.S. special envoy on Mideast peace, George Mitchell, said it is a sensitive time as Israel tries to form a new government.

"The democratic process has its ups and downs," she told Peres, but "I want you to know that we will work with the government of Israel that represents the democratic will of the people of Israel."

Peres expressed concern about security threats to Israel from Iran. Israeli officials worrying that the Obama administration might go too far in its efforts to talk with Iran. The Israeli media say Israel plans to present Clinton with proposed "red lines" on talks with Iran that would include harsher sanctions against Tehran and a "Plan B" if the U.S.-Iran dialogue does not work.

Also Tuesday, Clinton will meet with Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, Labor party head Ehud Barak and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert.

Wednesday, she will visit the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, conferring with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Mike in Houston

    If Israel is smart (which they are), they will ignore her.

    March 3, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  2. Randall in LA - Tough Call for All

    This is a very tough area for any President to deal with. What you have is a group of rogue terrorists (Hamas) provoking Israel by firing rockets into their midst – But for what purpose? Do they think by doing that Israel is going concede some of their land that has been in dispute since 1948 or welcome them with open arms to form a two-nation state? No. On the other hand was it in Israel's best interest by retaliating and killing hundreds of children in the three week campaign aimed at forcing Hamas to rethink their provocations? No. If Israel and Palestine form a two-nation state whereby both share and occupy the same geographic area and each live under the same political and socio-economic circumstances, then that would raise the standard of living for all Palestinians and there would be no reason to fight. Essentially, you'd have two families living under the same roof or near approximation to each other, so it would be stupid for either to bring down their own house. America is an example of how people can and do retain the structure of civility even within a nation that allows more religious freedom than anywhere else on earth – it's called "pluralism." The problem is that neither Israel nor Palestine is willing to work with the other. A good example is the U.S. military. Basic rule of law and order and getting along is absolutely necessary or else the whole system would break down. I am a 20 year Navy veteran and I can say for certain that the system works but there has to be rules, guidelines, and an equal set of values for everyone to follow for it to work. It is clear that neither Israel nor the Palestinians are willing or able to make peace work between them. The U.S. must be the big boy on the block sort of as an enforcer and mentor at the same time. The middle-east is their sandbox but the teacher and coach must set the rules on the playground.

    March 3, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. yuri

    Hopefully, Clinton's characterestically comely charm casts a carton of charisma on the middle-east's maddenin' melee.

    March 3, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. Axl in Iowa

    Peace in Israel & MidEast??? Yeah right.

    March 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You're doing a good job so far HRC.

    March 3, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. S Callahan

    Netanyhu is a chosen man...and more than by people....he is making the way for someone much greater....

    It's my hope that Gaza citizens demand these rocket attacks stop...
    for the wrath will too great otherwise....Israel has turned their cheeks seven times long can this go on?

    March 3, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |