US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged Israel and the Palestinians to restart peace talks, but laid the bulk of the blame for the fact the peace process has not advanced on the Jewish state.
Speaking at the opening of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, Clinton insisted Israel needs to make many more gestures and concessions to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in order to improve his image and encourage a final status peace settlement.
"We encourage Israel to continue building momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity and addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza," said Clinton.
The secretary also appeared to directly blame Israel for the fact that Palestinians have increasingly turned to the more ideologically-rigid Hamas terrorist organization to represent them in their conflict with Israel.
If Israel fails to further bolster Abbas, said Clinton, "there is no doubt his support will fade and Palestinians will turn to alternatives – including Hamas."
Like many other US leaders before her, Clinton failed to acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority, both under Abbas and Yasser Arafat before him, has had over 15 years to demonstrate the ability to effectively govern and promote an atmosphere of peace and coexistence, but has failed to do so.
For most Israelis, however, that is the true obstacle to peace.