Daily Israel Report

Clinton in Israel After Two-Year Absence

Clinton lands in Israel and pushes the “peace process,” which she admitted was to have been concluded on her last visit two years ago.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/16/2012, 8:07 AM

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Israel news photo: Flash 90

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in Israel Sunday and pushed the “peace process,” which she admitted was to have been concluded two years ago, when she last visited Jerualem.

She also will visit the Palestinian Authority but not meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, to whom she talked in Paris last week. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has become increasingly unpopular in Ramallah, will host her for a brief discussion, sandwiched between her talks with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and later with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Her 24-hour whirlwind visit to Israel began after a tour in Egypt, where her motorcade was pelted with tomatoes on Sunday.

Clinton, who has learned hard lessons on the Middle East the past three years, declared in Egypt that Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi should meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

However, she backed off trying to pull off what appears to be the impossible, given Morsi’s public disdain for Israel.

"It is up to the two nations and the president and the prime minister to make their own scheduling plans," Clinton said Saturday. "We have done nothing. That’s not our role; that would not be appropriate."

Clinton showed her lack of foresight last year as the protest movement swelled against Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom she quickly defended and called a “reformer.”

Desperate for proving that the failed “peace process” still is viable, she and President Barack Obama have consistently blamed Israel for the failure because of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s refusal to allow Abbas to declare the Palestinian Authority as a country based on his own territorial and political demands, which he has said should be accepted in “negotiations.”.

Other issues may take higher priorities in her meetings with Israeli officials Monday, mainly the Iranian nuclear threat.

Concerning the peace process, which almost no one except the Obama administration talks about, a senior State Department official said, "Obviously, every day that goes by where there is not a peace agreement is a day that leaves us unsatisfied…. Of course we would have liked to have been coming on this trip to sign a peace deal. We would have liked to have done that two years ago.”