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Clinton Advances Middle East Peace

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:27 PM
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Clinton Advances Middle East Peace

James Zogby

Founder and president of the Arab American Institute
Posted March 6, 2009 | 07:05 PM (EST)

Clinton Advances Middle East Peace

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent Middle East trip was striking, by any measure. Despite grumbling by some in the Arab media for what they derided as her "excessive caution," or claiming that she merely echoed the policies of the previous administration - some going so far as to mock her as "Condi Clinton" - her overall performance was significant and substantial.

She was constructive on many fronts: chiding Israel for it's failure to open the borders of Gaza sufficiently to facilitate the transport of relief assistance and supplies; publicly criticizing Israeli settlements as "unhelpful, and not in keeping with obligations entered into under the Roadmap;" and expressing concern with the Jerusalem municipality's plans to demolish Palestinian homes, noting that "the ramifications" of this action go "far beyond the individuals and families affected."

Clinton, of course, spoke empathetically about her commitment to a two-state solution, saying that is an "obligation" and noting that it was a "commitment" she "carried deep in my heart."

Most important, I believe, were her remarks humanizing the situation of Palestinians. In one eloquent passage, Secretary Clinton noted,

That a child growing up in Gaza without shelter, health care, or an education has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in your country or mine. That a mother and father in the West Bank struggling to fulfill their dreams for their children have the same right as parents anywhere else in the world to a good job, a decent home, and the tools to achieve greater prosperity and peace. That progress toward the goals we seek here today is more likely to grow out of opportunity, than futility; out of hope, than out of misery.

In this, Clinton was continuing what President Obama began in his January 22nd remarks at the State Department, when he spoke passionately about the suffering of the people in Gaza as a result of the Israeli assault. Aside, even from the political comments, the importance of these human portrayals cannot be over-emphasized, since they are "tone-setters," dramatically impacting public discourse and even directing press attention toward more human treatment of the Palestinian people.

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