Secretary Clinton: Working for Middle East Peace

Brokered a Critical Cease-Fire Between Israelis and Palestinians

Sec. Clinton helped avert an all-out war in Gaza by negotiating a cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians. According to Politico, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a Gaza cease-fire right at the moment hope seemed dead for a rapid end to the violence — and next time, President Barack Obama will probably have to do it without her.” [Politico, 11/21/12]

Sec. Clinton left an East Asian summit in Cambodia to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and negotiate an emergency cease-fire. According to The Telegraph, “Washington announced that Mrs. Clinton would break off from an East Asian summit in Phnom Penh and arrive in Jerusalem tonight. She will meet the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning before visiting the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank before travelling to Egypt, which has led efforts to forge a ceasefire deal.” [The Telegraph, 11/20/12]

Worked Closely with Region’s Leaders to Secure Cease-Fire

Sec. Clinton met with Netanyahu, Abbas, and Morsi in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo. According to the State Department’s DipNote blog, “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo on November 20-21, 2012. She met with regional leaders, including with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, to consult on the situation in Gaza. Today, while in Cairo, Secretary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced an agreement for a ceasefire in Gaza.” [DipNote blog, state.gov, 11/21/12]

Sec. Clinton “has built strong working relationships with many of the key” international players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which played a crucial role in the negotiations. In an article titled, “Hillary Clinton scores Gaza cease fire success,” Politico reported that Secretary Clinton “made clear her intention to leave the State Department soon — and while that won’t leave Obama and his administration starting from scratch, it will mean they’ll have to continue without a woman who has built strong working relationships with many of the key players over years. And coming off of a salvaged truce at a critical moment, the impact of that looms large over the White House’s next four years of dealings with the Middle East.” [Politico, 11/21/12]

The “cease-fire deal was reached only through a final American diplomatic push.” According to the New York Times, “The cease-fire deal was reached only through a final American diplomatic push: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conferred for hours with Mr. Morsi and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, at the presidential palace here.” [New York Times, 11/21/12]

Brokered the Cease-Fire with Egypt’s Morsi

Sec. Clinton stressed the pivotal role of Egypt in any negotiated cease-fire. According to the Washington Post, “In her remarks to Netanyahu, Clinton also stressed the pivotal part Egypt stands to play, saying that ‘as a regional leader and neighbor, Egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this process.’” [Washington Post, 11/20/12]

  • Egypt became the sponsor of the cease-fire agreement. According to NBC News, “Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday, ending eight days of fighting that killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis… Egypt is the ‘sponsor’ of the cease-fire agreement.” [NBC News, 11/21/12]

Cease-Fire Deal Came at a Critical Moment among Escalating Violence

Sec. Clinton: “This is a critical moment for the region.” In remarks after meeting with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, Sec. Clinton said, “I want to thank President Morsi for his personal leadership to de-escalate the situation in Gaza and end the violence. This is a critical moment for the region. Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace. The United States welcomes the agreement today for a ceasefire in Gaza. For it to hold, the rocket attacks must end, a broader calm return.” [Remarks with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, state.gov, 11/21/12]

Sec. Clinton: It was “essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.” In remarks after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sec. Clinton said, “Thank you very much, Prime Minister. I look forward to a productive discussion this evening at such a critical moment for Israel and the region. President Obama asked me to come to Israel with a very clear message: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.” [Remarks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, state.gov, 11/20/12]

Sec. Clinton “got a Gaza cease-fire right at the moment hope seemed dead for a rapid end to the violence.” According to Politico, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a Gaza cease-fire right at the moment hope seemed dead for a rapid end to the violence — and next time, President Barack Obama will probably have to do it without her.” [Politico, 11/21/12]

The Gaza cease-fire averted a “full-scale Israeli ground invasion.” According to the New York Times, “Under intense Egyptian and American pressure, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas halted eight days of bloody conflict on Wednesday, averting a full-scale Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip without resolving the underlying disputes.” [New York Times, 11/21/12]

Strongly Condemned Ongoing Terrorist Attacks

Sec. Clinton strongly condemned the terror attacks taking place during cease-fire negotiations. According to Sec. Clinton’s press statement on the bus bombing in Tel Aviv, “The United States strongly condemns this terrorist attack and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the people of Israel. As I arrive in Cairo, I am closely monitoring reports from Tel Aviv, and we will stay in close contact with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s team. The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that Israel requires.” [Remarks on Bus Bombing in Tel Aviv, state.gov, 11/21/12]

Sec. Clinton: “The people of this region deserve the chance to be free of fear and violence and today’s agreement is a step in the right direction that we should build on.” According to Politico, “Clinton even announced the agreement standing next to Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. She hailed the agreement as an important step to bringing stability and peace to a region that has seen major upheaval and transformation in the past two years. ‘The people of this region deserve the chance to be free of fear and violence and today’s agreement is a step in the right direction that we should build on,’ Clinton said.” [Politico, 11/21/12]

Supported Israeli Security

Entering negotiations, Sec. Clinton emphasized the U.S.’s “rock solid and unwavering” commitment to Israeli security. According to Sec. Clinton’s remarks with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, “I look forward to a productive discussion this evening at such a critical moment for Israel and the region. President Obama asked me to come to Israel with a very clear message: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering. That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza. The rocket attacks from terrorist organizations inside Gaza on Israeli cities and towns must end and a broader calm restored.” [Remarks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, state.gov, 11/20/12]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Sec. Clinton for supporting the Iron Dome defense system “that’s been saving lives.” In remarks following a meeting with Sec. Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I want to welcome Secretary Clinton once again to Jerusalem. I want to thank President Obama, you, and the American Government and people for their strong support for Israel in this hour of need. I want to also thank you especially for your support of Iron Dome that’s been saving lives, and we are in a battle to save lives.” [Remarks with Israeli Prime Benjamin Minister Netanyahu, state.gov, 11/20/12]

  • The Administration supported $205 million “for the purchase of up to ten Iron Dome batteries.” According to the Congressional Research Service, “In March 2010, the Obama Administration announced that it would support $205 million in defense assistance to Israel for the purchase of up to ten Iron Dome batteries.” [“The Middle East: Selected Key Issues and Options for the 112th Congress,” pg. 3, fas.org, 1/3/11]
  • An Iron Dome battery consisted of launchers and interceptors “that determines a rocket’s trajectory within seconds of launch.” According to Bloomberg, “Iron Dome, made by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, is designed to intercept and destroy rockets capable of flying as far as 70 kilometers (44 miles). Israel has fielded its first four batteries consisting of launchers and interceptors costing as much as $90,000 apiece, according to the nonpartisan U.S. Congressional Research Service. Iron Dome’s effectiveness depends on a battle management system that determines a rocket’s trajectory within seconds of launch, based on radar and electro-optical sensors. In the same instant, the system determines whether the rocket is headed toward a populated area, making an intercept necessary.” [Bloomberg, 11/17/12]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Sec. Clinton is a “champion of peace.” In remarks at a press availability with Sec. Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “It’s my pleasure to welcome Secretary of State of the United States Hillary Clinton to Jerusalem. Welcome, Hillary. You are a great friend and a great champion of peace. I think that we owe a vote of thanks to you, to George Mitchell, to your staffs, and of course, to President Obama and the entire Obama Administration for the tireless efforts to re-launch the peace process – the peace process between us and the Palestinians, and between us and the Arab world – following the President’s vision of a regional peace.” [Remarks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, state.gov, 10/31/09}

Committed to Peace between Israelis and Palestinians

Resumed Peace Negotiations for First Time Since 2008

Sec. Clinton “opened the formal return to Middle East peace talks” in September 2010. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “It is Hillary Clinton, the once-assumed and later vanquished future president, who opened the formal return to Middle East peace talks in Washington this month by urging the Israeli and Palestinian people to rise above ‘the disappointments of the past’ to become ‘champions’ for peace.” [Christian Science Monitor, 9/25/10]

Sec. Clinton worked to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders together in direct talks for the first time in two years. According to the Washington Post, “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are expected in Washington on Sept. 2 for what will be the first face-to-face negotiations between the sides in two years.” [Washington Post, 8/21/10]

Sec. Clinton collaborated with foreign leaders and representatives from international organizations to encourage the sides to return to the negotiating table. According to the New York Times, “Mrs. Clinton has been working the phone in recent days to clear the final hurdles, speaking Thursday with Jordan’s foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, and with Tony Blair, the special representative of the Quartet, the group of Middle East peacemakers comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia. Late on Wednesday, she spoke with the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that on Thursday night President Abbas called a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee, the party’s main decision-making body, at which ‘developments in the peace process’ were discussed.” [New York Times, 8/20/10]

Sec. Clinton “wore down the reluctance of the Palestinians to come to the table and drummed up support from Arab neighbors.” According to the New York Times, “The tableau of Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas chatting amiably Thursday in front of the marble fireplace in her office, officials said, testified to her relentless phone calls in recent weeks as she wore down the reluctance of the Palestinians to come to the table and drummed up support from Arab neighbors like Jordan and Egypt. ‘One of the best indications that this could succeed is that Hillary Clinton is willing to get involved,’ said Stephen J. Hadley, who served as national security adviser to President George W. Bush. ‘Because that makes me think two things: She thinks it’s possible and, because she is as skilled as she is, it increases the likelihood of success.’” [New York Times, 9/4/10]

NSC Chief of Staff Denis McDonough: “The decision-making and policy-making that got to these talks were really handled between the two of them [Sec. Clinton and Obama] personally.” According to the New York Times, “The choreography last week, a White House dinner followed by talks at the State Department, bore the imprint of Mrs. Clinton, officials said. The administration debated having her travel to the Middle East to restart the talks, but she persuaded Mr. Obama to take a central role. ‘The decision-making and policy-making that got to these talks were really handled between the two of them personally,’ said Denis McDonough, the chief of staff of the National Security Council.” [New York Times, 9/4/10]

Worked Repeatedly And Directly with Countries in the Region

Secretary Clinton traveled to the Middle East and Northern Africa 16 times:

1. The Middle East and Europe, February 28 – March 8, 2009
2. Middle East, April 23-26, 2009
3. El Salvador, Honduras, Egypt With the President, May 31-June 4, 2009
4. Pakistan, the Middle East, Morocco and Egypt, October 27-November 4, 2009
5. Qatar and Saudi Arabia, February 13-16, 2010
6. Sharm el-Sheikh, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Amman, September 13-16, 2010.
7. Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Bahrain, November 30-December 4, 2010
8. United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, and Qatar, January 8-13, 2011
9. France, Egypt, Tunisia, March 14-17, 2011
10. U.A.E., Zambia, Tanzania, and Ethiopia, June 8-14, 2011
11. Malta, Libya, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, October 17-23, 2011
12. United Kingdom, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, February 22-26, 2012
13. Saudi Arabia and Turkey, March 30-April 1, 2012
14. France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt, and Israel, July 5-17, 2012
15. Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, and Croatia: October 29-November 2, 2012
16. Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo, November 20-21, 2012

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