While officially, the US State Department described the first visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a learning visit, it is clear that the first arrival of the newly-appointed secretary of state will mark a new era in Jerusalem. Clinton will explain that the new administration under the leadership of President Barak Obama will seek to change policy decisions of his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was willing to use military force to create facts on the ground.
Secretary Clinton in her meetings with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, incoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will explain she is here to listen and learn, as well as to explain the White House is seeking dialogue towards resolving issues with the PA (Palestinian Authority), Syria and even Iran. The latter has Israel particularly worried, based on the most recent intelligence information which indicates the ‘point of no return’ regarding Iran’s nuclear capabilities is rapidly approaching. CNN just covered an interview with the chairman of the Chiefs of Joint Staffs, Admiral Mike Mullen in which he stated he believes Iran possesses enough fissile material to build an atom bomb.
During her 48-hour stopover in Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority) in Ramallah, Clinton will also meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his senior staff.
Secretary Clinton will also explain the current administration’s commitment to the ‘two-state’ solution, the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The White House is carefully monitoring statements from the incoming prime minister, somewhat apprehensive over his right-wing image, fearful that the new Israel government may hamper the ongoing diplomatic process. Netanyahu however has already released statements of assurance to the White House, stating his administration will undoubtedly honor agreements signed by previous administrations and that he remains committed to a diplomatic process towards achieving peace with Israel’s neighbors.
The Clinton entourage will occupy two floors of the King David Hotel, 130 rooms, marking her third stay in the hotel’s suite, with her previous visits being in the capacity as First Lady, during the tenure of her husband’s presidency.
Prior to her arrival, Clinton will attend the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference which is intended to raise enormous amounts of money towards rebuilding Gaza. Unfortunately, the international community seems more than willing to continue infusing funds to the terror regime, funds that in the past have not reached their intended target. There are no demands placed on Hamas and no calls for the release of Gilad Shalit as a precondition to handing over the funds.
The conference will be attended by kings, presidents, and heads of state, and no less than 45 foreign ministers. America has already committed to $900 million in addition to the European Union’s $554 million. Tens of millions of dollars will also be pledged by other countries during the event, which will provide Hamas with a new infusion of funding to continue building its terrorist regime and acquire advanced weaponry that will continue posing a threat to Israel in the future.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)