Hillary and the Peace Process

Why does it not surprise me that Hillary Clinton’s Israel policy paper reads like something Benjamin Netanyahu wrote? As Ezra notes, it calls explicitly for a unified Jerusalem, and as Ezra’s commenter Adrian notes, it supports not only Israel having “defensible borders”, obvious code for “broader than pre-1967”, but also Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state”, an oblique way of ruling out Palestinian right of return. The only viable peace proposal, the only one acceptable to both Israel and the Palestinian authority, is one where Palestine includes East Jerusalem (without which any Palestinian state is crippled) and more or less the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza, and where Palestinians have some kind of limited right of return. Hillary pre-emptively rules out all of these conditions. I don’t think it’s reaching to say that she’d be considerably worse for the peace process than the current president.

4 thoughts on “Hillary and the Peace Process

  1. Especially after visiting Israel, I support the peace process as much as anybody. A dangerous faction of Israelis are grabbing land in the West Bank and they need to stop. The arrangement for East Jerusalem Arabs is not particularly fair to them either. However, an American election campaign is not a good time to take an enlightened, intellectual stand on these matters. The truth is that Bill Clinton did a great deal for the peace process while George Bush did almost nothing. I believe that Hillary’s “position paper” is just campaign noise, or maybe bare lip service to Israelis which can sometimes have diplomatic value.
    For that matter, although I absolutely agree that the Palestinians are treated badly, turning the clock back to 1966 is not realistic and purist demands to do so will not bring peace. There should be a Palestinian state with a well-defined border, but not necessarily at the Green Line. Israel can offer other concessions instead of that particular line and that is the only realistic path.

  2. It may be that Hillary is just posturing. But it’s dangerous posturing. If she gets elected, comments like this will severely damage the impression of America as an honest broker between the two parties. Her proposals will be taken significantly less credibly by the Palestinians, perhaps rightly so.
    I agree that a little fudging of the pre-1966 borders may be necessary. But the diverging from that too much would do great damage to any prospective Palestinian state.

  3. Except that peace between Israel and the Palestinians has little to do with remarks and proposals. It requires a lot of forceful arm-twisting, and even then it could be impossible. I agree that these few words in Hillary’s platform are not particularly helpful, but she has not elevated this to a major campaign theme. It doesn’t seem as reckless as, for instance, Obama’s suggestion that he would be willing to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty to root out Al Qaeda. Although that too is talk, which should not be confused with action.

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