U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came and went and nothing changed, not even the hot weather, except that the U.S.-led “peace process” was left behind in lost baggage.
The only question is if it was lost in Washington or Jerusalem.
Clinton arrived for her 24-hour visit to Israel almost at the same time that President Barack Obama admitted that his worst personal failure since being elected president was his inability to achieve the Palestinian Authority’s stated desire to be recognized as a new Arab country within Israel’s current borders.
Two previous presidents also failed.
Clinton uttered the usual platitudes for “Peace among Israel, the Palestinian people and all of Israel's Arab neighbors,” but Obama said earlier this week what many Israelis have been trying to tell the United States for years. He admitted that an agreement between Israel and the PA “is something we focused on very early. But the truth of the matter is that the parties, they've got to want it as well."
Israel is not about to meet Arab demands and expel 10 percent of its population from land that was restored to the Jewish state in the Six-Day War in 1967. The Palestinian Authority, buoyed by years of concessions by Israel, is not about to give up its dream of eliminating a Jewish majority in Israel by flooding the country with Arabs living in foreign countries and whom the United Nations defines as refugees.
Clinton’s visit to Israel did not even include the usual perfunctory five-mile journey to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority officials. Instead, she met with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at the U.S. Consulate in what is called “East Jerusalem,” claimed by the PA as the future capital of their would-be state.
With the United States struggling to keep the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty from falling apart, and with Iran’s nuclear development threatening the entire world, Obama has little time or energy to work for an PA-Israeli agreement that has virtually no chance of happening.
Not lost in the shuffle are the upcoming presidential elections and a visit to Israel in two weeks by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
Israel remains the eye in the Middle East hurricane. The Arab Spring rebellions that have toppled regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, with Syria in line, have not excited Palestinian Authority Arabs. Most of them enjoy the best of both worlds with privileges and rights from Israel and billions of dollars in aid from the European Union.
The PA effectively ditched the “peace process” two years ago by refusing to talk with Israel on an agreement without a building freeze on new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas then refused to sit down for discussions after Israel slapped a 10-month freeze on its own Jewish residents. Abbas claimed the building freeze was not sufficient because it did not include “East Jerusalem,” which actually refers to eastern northern and southern neighborhoods in Jerusalem that were under Jordanian occupation until 1967.
Hanan Ashrawi, spokeswoman for the Palestinian Authority, has called the Obama administration’s Middle East policy a “disaster,” adding, "The American standing and credibility have never been worse than now.”
However, the replacement of several Muslim Arab autocratic regimes with fanatic Muslim leaders may be a red flag waving in the face of any further attempts by Obama to create the PA as a state. The United States burned its fingers – as well as Israel’s hands and more – six years ago when it promoted the Palestinian Authority’s first and only democratic elections, and then found the Hamas terrorist organization as the winner.
As for Clinton, she has had enough. She is leaving her post as Secretary of State in January, regardless of whether or not Obama wins another term.