U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, assured Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that all of Israel’s security needs will be taken into full consideration under any future peace deal with the PalestiniansClinton said that the United States is committed in Israel’s security, peace and stability in the whole region.
Her statements came after an extended round of talks with Netanyahu, on Thursday, in Washington.
During their joint statement to the press, the two leaders avoided talking about Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories, and only stated that the two sides agree on the importance of direct peace talks.
Clinton stated that peace talks still have the chance to lead to an agreement that ensures the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living in peace next to Israel, with clear borders and while ensuring Israel’s security needs.
The joint statement also indicated that any future Palestinian state must be established in the 1967 areas while allowing land swap based on Israel’s security needs, and that Israel might keep control of certain West Bank lands.
The statement failed to address Israel’s insistence to continue the construction and expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and in occupied East Jerusalem.
Netanyahu and his government insist on what they call “Israel’s right” to construct settlements in the occupied territories.
During this week, Clinton and the President Obama criticized Israel’s proposal to build 1,300 new units for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem. Obama said that he was aware of the ‘enormous obstacles’ that were obstructing the peace process.
However, Clinton made it clear that the U.S. would not support any unilateral step, referring to this week’s announcement made by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, regarding intentions to call on the United Nations Security Council to debate the Israeli settlement activties.
In Ramallah, where the main event commemorating the sixth anniversary of late president Yasser Arafat’s death, Abbas stated that unilateral acts are taken by both sides:
‘We are thinking of heading to the Security Council, and this is considered a unilateral act on our part, but when [the Israelis] take unilateral actions like the Wall, invasions, assassinations, and uprooting olive trees, that isn’t considered unilateral!’ he added.
Abbas also stated that he would consider Obama’s words in September to seek the creation of a Palestinian state within a year, and that he would continue reclaiming east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, as well as the Right of Return for refugees.
‘We consider this statement to be a commitment by President Obama, not just a slogan, and we hope that next year he won’t say to us ‘we apologize, we can’t do it’.