United States Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton said at Senate confirmation hearings Tuesday, "The president-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel's desire to defend itself under the current conditions and to be free of shelling by Hamas rockets."
Maintaining the long-standing State Department policy of "balance" in the Arab-Israeli struggle, she added, "The tragic humanitarian costs... must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasting peace agreement that brings real security to Israel, normal and positive relations with its neighbors and independence, economic progress and security to the Palestinians in their own state."
She repeated the Bush policy that Hamas cannot be recognized if it does not acknowledge Israel's right to exist.
The former New York Senator said she envisions a "smart power" policy that will deal with all Middle East issues, most prominently the Iranian threat of developing a nuclear bomb.
She offered no hints of a new policy despite President-elect Barack Obama's election campaign for a "change government."
She offered no hints of a new policy despite President-elect Barack Obama's election campaign for a 'change government.'
Recalling the efforts of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, whose Oslo Accord agreements blew up into the Oslo War, or Second Intifada, Hillary Clinton stated, "As intractable as the Middle East's problems may seem, we cannot give up on peace."
She maintained that the Middle East needs the U.S. to help solve reginal problems but that "America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own."
One of her first steps, if she is confirmed, will be to appoint a Middle East envoy. All four front-running candidates were involved as advisors to President Clinton during the Oslo negotiations, and two of them, Martin Indyk and Daniel Kurtzer, served as ambassadors to Israel. The former envoys, as well as the other front-runners Aaron Miller and Dennis Ross, are Jewish.