Wonder how she's gonna fix the fundamental belief held by muslims that it's their divine right to kill jews.
Really, I am looking forward to this magic trick.
March 2 (Bloomberg) -- Hillary Clinton and other international leaders told a money-raising conference for the war-battered Gaza Strip that rapid progress is needed to resolve the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The U.S. secretary of state said the administration of President Barack Obama will pursue a peace deal between Israel and its Arab neighbors with “vigor and intensity.” Citing the appointment of a special envoy for Middle East peace, George Mitchell, Clinton also pledged $900 million in aid for the Palestinians to underpin the government of Mahmoud Abbas.
“The United States is committed to a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and we will pursue it on many fronts,” Clinton told the conference today in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The gathering of 75 countries and international organizations is designed to provide reconstruction money for the Gaza Strip, devastated by Israel’s 22-day air, land and sea assault aimed at ending rocket fire from the enclave. Most major donors agreed the funding shouldn’t go to Hamas, the Islamic party and militia that opposes talks with Israel and ousted Abbas from Gaza in 2007.
Egypt’s PresidentHosni Mubarak, host for the one-day meeting of donor nations and international organizations, said economic help for the Palestinians “is not an alternative” to resolving the longstanding dispute. “I look forward that this year will be the year of peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said.
Sarkozy Sees Urgency
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he opposed the idea that “peace can wait until the circumstances are favorable. I am convinced that time is working against us,” he said in a speech.
Clinton sought to humanize the discussion of money and Middle East politics, and draw a connection between the region’s long-standing conflicts and the rest of the world.
“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,” Clinton said. A mother and father in the West Bank “have the same rights as parents anywhere else in the world to a good job, a decent home and the tools to achieve greater prosperity and peace.”
The Palestinians were represented at the conference by Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority governs only the West Bank after having been expelled by Hamas from Gaza in 2007. Hamas wasn’t invited. U.S. officials say Hamas, which they regard as a terrorist organization, will get none of the aid.
Clinton said U.S. aid would be provided with “safeguards that will ensure our funding is only used where and for who it is intended and does not end up in the wrong hands.” Of the total U.S. aid pledge for Palestinians, $300 million will go for humanitarian assistance in Gaza, funneled through the United Nations and other non-profit organizations. The rest will go to Abbas’ government to support its budget, aid the economy and spur political reform. It isn’t clear how much of the money funneled to Abbas will end up in Gaza.
Abbas wants $2.8 billion in aid. He addressed the morning session of the meeting and told the delegates, “We appreciate your presence and help, but we also insist that we must urgently proceed toward a settlement that will solve the conflict with Israel.”
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians center on the outlines of a future Palestinian state to co-exist alongside Israel. A year of negotiations sponsored by the Bush administration ended in 2008 without reaching an agreement. Peace talks are currently stalled while Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who has the support of a majority of 65 lawmakers in the 120-member Israeli Knesset after Feb. 10 elections, tries to form a coalition government.
Similar Approach to Bush
Other than Obama’s appointment of former U.S. Senator Mitchell as a special envoy, the outline of American policy has yet to show much difference from the Bush approach: bolster Abbas, who favors talks with Israel; shun Hamas; and take no concrete steps to halt expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which successive U.S. administrations have qualified as an obstacle to peace.
Rather, the Obama administration is focusing on strengthening Abbas. Clinton today praised him for being willing to move forward toward a negotiated settlement and commended Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for increasing the credibility of the administration.
The funds represent “both a short- and long-term approach,” Clinton said. “It is not enough just to respond to the immediate needs of the Palestinian people. Our response to today’s crisis in Gaza cannot be separated from our broader efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace.”
Today, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum chided the conference for trying to bypass his organization, which swept 2006 parliamentary elections in both the West Bank and Gaza. “Bypassing the legitimate Palestinian authority in Gaza is like walking to the wrong address and demonstrates a desire to hinder the reconstruction,” he said.