Clinton: Israeli Vote Doesn't Close Door to Peace

The outcome of Israel's elections did not torpedo hopes for peace with PA, but instead opened up a new chance for dialogue, Clinton said.

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The outcome of Israel's elections did not torpedo hopes for peace with the Palestinian Authority, but instead opened up a new chance for dialogue, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

In one of her final public engagements before stepping down as secretary of state, Cliton chose to strike an optimistic note.

"I actually think this election opens doors, not nails them shut," she said, during a so-called "global townhall" meeting, in which she took questions from Internet-users and broadcasters around the world.

Clinton said the results of the elections suggest an extensive wish among the Israeli electorate to pursue a “different path” towards peace, adding that her expected successor, Senator John Kerry, will forcefully seek a solution.

"So I know President Obama and my successor soon-to-be secretary of state John Kerry will pursue this, will look for every possible opening," she said.

As Clinton was speaking, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave its backing to Kerry's appointment, clearing the way for the full Senate to confirm him as her successor later in the day.

Last week, in his confirmation hearings, Kerry suggested that he may have new proposals to restart direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority which have stalled for more than two years.

"We need to try to find a way forward, and I happen to believe that there is a way forward," he said.

"But I also believe that if we can't be successful that the door, or window, or whatever you want to call it, to the possibility of a two-state solution could shut on everybody and that would be disastrous in my judgment," Kerry maintained.

Clinton told the Washington townhall meeting that she believes "Hamas is not interested in democracy,” adding that it “is still largely a military resistance group."

She added, however, that Washington has “made it very clear that if Hamas renounces violence, if they morph themselves into a political entity the way that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have from the origins in the PLO, if they accept the previous commitments... there's a place for them at the table.”

“It would be my great hope that they would do that," Clinton added.