Speaking at a forum at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington on Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israel is suspicious of Palestinians and doesn’t care enough about their plight.
“I’m not making excuses for the missed opportunities of the Israelis, or the lack of generosity, the lack of empathy that I think goes hand-in-hand with the suspicion,” Clinton said, after praising the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for working with her in 2009 to offer a moratorium on building new Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“So, yes, there is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds, and they want to figure out, within the bounds of security and a Jewish democratic state, what can be accomplished,” Clinton added.
“And I think that, unfortunately, there are more and more Israelis and Palestinians who just reject that idea out of hand: Why bother? Why try? We’ll never be able to reach an agreement with the other. But in the last 20 years, I’ve seen Israeli leaders make an honest, good-faith effort and not be reciprocated in the way that was needed.”
Clinton also blasted Israel’s plan of building 3,000 housing units in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“In light of today’s announcement, let me reiterate that this administration — like previous administrations — has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace.”