Addressing the Saban Forum on Friday evening, U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, stated that Washington is serious about perusing a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and for establishing the foundations of an independent Palestinian State.Clinton stated that the White House will move the peace process forwards despite the collapse of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks.
Clinton further said that the United States is serious about pushing towards a peace agreement, and for laying the foundations for a future Palestinian state.
She added that the Palestinian State must be established through peace talks and not through unilateral steps and declaration.
“A Palestinian State is established through negotiations, this is inevitable”, Clinton said, and added that the ongoing Israeli occupation in the West Bank is a threat to what she called “A Zionist version of a Jewish and democratic State in the historic homeland of the Jewish people”, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported.
The Secretary of State further stated that the Obama administration intends to focus on core issues on the conflict, including sensitive issues such as the Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, water, Jewish settlements, security and borders.
She also said that the United States rejects Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories and that the ongoing expansion of settlements does not only endanger the efforts to reach a two-state solution, but also endangers Israel itself.
Clinton slammed Israeli and Palestinian leaders for failing to resume peace talks, and stated that the leaders should stop assigning blame for the next failure, and must start focusing on the needed measures to achieve peace.
She said that the White House is committed to the peace process and to starting direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Earlier this week, Israel and the United states acknowledged the fact that bilateral talks on settlement freeze in the occupied territories had failed even amidst new U.S guarantees and incentives.
The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas said that talks with Israel cannot continue while the Israeli government is ongoing with its violations, and the construction and expansion of settlements.
Currently, the United States is considering, once again, supervising indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks.
Officials at the White House are also hoping to succeed in resolving security issues and setting the borders between Israel and the future Palestinian state, but Israel is refusing to hold talks on borders, amidst other important issues, due to the fact that its illegal settlements are built in the occupied territories.
On Friday, Clinton held meetings with Chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, and the leader of the opposition in Israel Tzipi Livni.
She also held meetings with UN Special Envoy, Terje Larsen, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Haaretz reported.
On Thursday, Clinton met with Isaac Molho, an adviser to Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Furthermore, U.S. Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, is planning to travel to the Middle East next week to boost the efforts aiming at resuming peace talks.
Following his meeting with Clinton at the State Department, Dr. Erekat blamed Israel for the failure of peace talks, and stated that Israel had to choose between peace and settlements, and it chose settlements.
He added that the Palestinian Authority will continue to hold talks with the United States, the European Union, the Arab League and the United Nations.