Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders 11 times in three Middle Eastern cities last week, a diplomatic marathon that produced only promises that the adversaries remain committed to the latest U.S.-led peace initiative.
Clinton couldn’t extract the result she needs: that the two sides put aside their differences over Jewish construction in the occupied West Bank and move on.
“All of this is complicated,” Clinton acknowledged at the end of a disappointing week.
The trip’s outcome was a sobering reminder of the challenge Clinton has accepted as the principal player in the Obama administration’s ambitious effort to close a Mideast peace deal in one year.
Achieving a lasting peace deal has been a priority for almost every U.S. administration in the last 50 years. With President Obama focused on the U.S. economy, the peace talks offer Clinton the chance to shine with a dazzling breakthrough, but her efforts also could be derailed by disaster in the treacherous terrain of the Middle East.
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