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Posts Tagged ‘Ehud Barak’

The chapter begins with Hillary explaining briefly the history of the Palestinian flag, its symbolism, and her impression upon finding it flying beside the Israeli flag at the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when she arrived for a close, tight, tiny meeting in September 2010.  Only  Mahmoud Abbas, Hillary, George Mitchell, and Netanyahu himself were secluded in Bibi’s personal study.  An impatient press was gathered outside.  Things were tense.  A construction freeze was about to expire.

The photo below was taken early in her tenure at State when she attended a conference on humanitarian aid to Gaza.  The Obama administration entered this arena to a three-day-old cease-fire and a Gaza reduced to rubble and in dire need of humanitarian aid.   Reading it now, we might feel as if we have come full circle and need another of these donor conferences for the region.

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Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at Gaza Conference

March 3, 2009 by still4hill

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All of us recognize that human progress depends on the human spirit. That a child growing up in Gaza without shelter, health care, or an education has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in your country or mine. That a mother and father in the West Bank struggling to fulfill their dreams for their children have the same right as parents anywhere else in the world to a good job, a decent home, and the tools to achieve greater prosperity and peace.

On that first official visit to the Middle East  she met with both  the outgoing Israeli government and the incoming one.  Hillary’s first phone call as secretary of state to a foreign leader was to Ehud Olmert.

Hillary Clinton With Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

 

Hillary Clinton with Tzipi Livni

There is a long time friendship between the Clinton and Peres families.  At this meeting he gave her a bouquet composed of every flower that grows in Israel.

Hillary Clinton with Shimon Peres

 

Her Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman,  met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton astoundingly rarely.  Far more frequently she met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Hillary Clinton with Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman

She visited an English language teaching program in Ramallah.  Amideast is a major source of Middle Eastern students to U.S. universities.  They manage government scholarships for Saudi students and also Fulbright scholarships.

Hillary Clinton at an Amideast Event

 

The issue at this point was the controversial Goldstone Report.  All of the links below contain policy comments about it.

Secretary Clinton & Ambassador Rice: Remarks After Meeting on the Adoption of a UNSC Resolution to Combat Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

The Secretary’s Week in Review

Secretary Clinton: Interviews Galore!

Press Briefing on the Plane to Cairo

Secretary Clinton Remarks with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Gheit

Secretary Clinton: Two Interviews

Video & Text: Middle East Quartet Statement, Press Briefing, & Secretary Clinton’s Remarks

The announcement, right before AIPAC and while Joe Biden was visiting Israel of 1,600 new settlement units to be constructed was considered a major insult to the U.S.  Obama was furious, and it was Hillary’s job to communicate that to Netanyahu.  Bibi denied responsibility but did not cancel the construction.

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton at 2010 AIPAC Conference

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Last fall, I stood next to Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem and praised his government’s decision to place a moratorium on new residential construction in the West Bank. And then I praised it again in Cairo and in Marrakesh and in many places far from Jerusalem to make clear that this was a first step, but it was an important first step. And yes, I underscored the longstanding American policy that does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlements. As Israel’s friend, it is our responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed….

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New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines that mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides say want and need. And it exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit. It undermines America’s unique ability to play a role – an essential role – in the peace process. Our credibility in this process depends in part on our willingness to praise both sides when they are courageous, and when we don’t agree, to say so, and say so unequivocally.

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks At the American Jewish Committee Annual Gala Dinner

In 2011 Goldstone retracted part of the report.  The damage had already been done.  The Palestinians were planning to put a statehood vote before the Security Council.

Hillary points out that the Obama administration policy, indeed, U.S. policy, is and has been a two-state solution as stated in Obama’s Cairo speech.  This was not a new policy and had remained a U.S. goal from the Clinton administration through the George W. Bush administration   But a vote in the Security Council was not the intended route.  There were supposed to be negotiated compromises.

She recalled their visit, before the speech, to the Sultan Hassan Mosque and the peace and calm she sensed there in the middle of a presidential visit and major policy rollout.

Secretary Clinton in Cairo

Ten days after the Cairo speech, Netanyahu endorsed the two-state solution in a speech at Bar-Ilan University.

For Netanyahu, the major sticking point from the start was the condition of a freeze on  construction of settlements.  He announced a 10-month freeze on October 31.  Hillary called the move “unprecedented” and felt a good deal of kickback for the word which she continues to stand by.  Abbas, for his part, agreed to delay the statehood vote at the U.N.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Hillary got along especially well with Ehud Barak and speaks fondly of him as endlessly optimistic and a voice for peace.  He evidently also had her on speed dial and would ring her up and say, “Hillary, let’s strategize.”  They met officially on a frequent basis and were quite a pair!

Secretary of State Clinton and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speak to reporters Secretary of State Clinton and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speak to reporters in Washington

When, in May 2010,  there was an Israeli attack on a Turkish flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists bound for Gaza resulting in the death of nine Turkish citizens, Barak called Hillary while she was marching in the Memorial Day parade.

Video: Bill & Hillary Clinton in the Memorial Day Parade in Chappaqua, NY

Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu  warned that this could mean war between Turkey and Israel, called it Turkey’s 9/11, and was at the State Department the next morning.  He was very emotional.  Hillary contacted Netanyahu who wanted to patch things up but would not apologize.  During her tenure, he never did apologize, but called Erdogan in March 2013 when Obama was in Jerusalem with an apology.  According to Hillary the patching up is still in progress.

Secretary Clinton: Photos of the Day

Hillary Clinton Day One Mid-East Peace Talks

Photos: Hillary Opens Mid-East Peace Talks

Video: Secretary Clinton Relaunches Mid-East Peace Talks

… by being here today, you each have taken an important step toward freeing your peoples from the shackles of a history we cannot change, and moving toward a future of peace and dignity that only you can create.

The upshot was that the parties agreed to meet in Sharm el Sheikh in two weeks.   Hillary commented that her work as secretary of state frequently brought her to lovely resorts. She never had the opportunity to enjoy any of them for all the work that needed to be done.

Where Hillary Clinton is going

From Sharm el Sheikh: Slideshow and Briefing by George Mitchell

Secretary Clinton’s Press Briefing En Route Sharm El Sheikh

Hillary in Jerusalem

September 15, 2010 by still4hill

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Israeli President Shimon Peres Before their Meeting

Hillary Clinton in Ramallah and Amman

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh

 

Later that month she met with Abbas and Ehud Barak on the sidelines at UNGA.  No statements.  One photo.  No real progress. President Obama pressed for an extension of the freeze.  Abbas was essentially saying “choose between peace and settlements.”  Hillary spoke with Ehud Barak but Bibi refused to budge.  Abbas was ready to go ahead with a statehood vote in the Security Council while Hillary kept telling him the only path to peace was via negotiations. In a phone call with Bibi, Hillary encountered intransigence.

 

Then,  In November a door opened a crack, and Hillary flew to New York to breeze through it.

Hillary Clinton’s Mid-East Charm Offensive: Remarks Before Her Meeting With Netanyahu

Hillary, Bibi in the New York Marathon: Joint Statement at the Finish Line

Hillary, Bibi, and the NYC Marathon Take Two: Some Reviews

Eventually there was a proposal to halt construction for 90 days in exchange for a $3 billion security package and a promise to veto any resolutions at the U.N. that would undercut negotiations.  No one liked this solution including Hillary.   She told Tony Blair that she felt it was a sacrifice worth making.   It began to disintegrate almost at birth and was dust by November.

Hillary took a strong stand at the Saban Forum in December.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy Seventh Annual Forum

December 11, 2010 by still4hill

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton speaks at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington

 

The United States and the international community cannot impose a solution. Sometimes I think both parties seem to think we can. We cannot. And even if we could, we would not, because it is only a negotiated agreement between the parties that will be sustainable. The parties themselves have to want it. The people of the region must decide to move beyond a past that cannot change and embrace a future they can shape together.

President Obama went to the State Department to reiterate the U.S. position regarding the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.  Bibi ignored the swaps part of that and Abbas could not guarantee that a new push for statehood would not happen at the U.N.

George Mitchell resigned.

Hillary says the tiny private meeting in September 2010 at Bibi’s residence when he raised the Palestinian flag to welcome Abbas to his home might have been the last time Abbas and Netanyahu spoke.  It might have been.

Gaza: Netanyahu and Abbas had secret meeting before ceasefire

If Bibi is going to threaten to fire his chief negotiator, Tsipi Livni, for talking with Abbas and has to conceal this possible meeting, chances for negotiation look bleak.

Hillary ends quoting Yitzhak Rabin.  “The coldest peace is better than the warmest war.”

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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Remarks With Minister of Defense Ehud Barak

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Jerusalem
July 16, 2012

 


Well, I am always pleased to have a chance to be here in Israel and to continue the conversations you and I have carried on over many years now, when we were both much younger. But you’re right, Ehud, we’re at a time of such historic change, really unprecedented. And we have to work together to face the challenges and to, hopefully, seize some of the opportunities. So I’m looking forward to our discussion and then to the meeting later this evening with the Prime Minister.

 

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Ehud Barak, posted with vodpod

Remarks With Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 17, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to welcome a longtime friend and colleague back here to Washington and, in particular, the State Department. We have a constant consultation between the Government of the United States and the Government of Israel on a full range of important issues. And I look forward to having this opportunity to do one of these reviews with Minister Barak, and I am delighted that you are here, sir.

DEFENSE MINISTER BARAK: Thank you. I’m delighted to be here once again and to have an opportunity to discuss Middle Eastern issues with the Secretary (inaudible). And we are highly appreciative of the approach of this Administration, of the Secretary, of Secretary of Defense, and of course of the President, in regard to the security of Israel, making sure that in our tough neighborhood, Israel will be strong and secure. And I hope, of course, that the new developments will lead into new opportunities to move forward, not just on security but also on the highly important issue of trying to find a way to have a breakthrough in the political process towards peace.

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.

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Well, Hillary is in the news this weekend on a variety of fronts, so I thought I would share some of what I see along with editorial comments.  (This picture has nothing to do with these stories.  I just found it and know some readers will enjoy this picture from Thursday with Pakistan’s FM Qureshi.)

First, a story completely new to me about Senator Jon Kyl (R – AZ) blocking the nomination of Raul Yzaguirre for ambassador to the Dominican Republic, a country crucial to land operations in the Haiti relief effort.  Once again The Party of NO rears its ferocious head.  Anybody who thinks Secretary Clinton has not pushed hard on these Iran sanctions (his reason for NO) must have been living under a rock for the past year plus.  You can read the story here. Kyl stymies ambassador nod over Iran

Speaking of living under a rock or on some other rock far from the sun, it was yesterday when I encountered the silly op-ed by David Ignatius dated today in the Washington Post.  Where to begin on this one? I guess here.

“…Obama is different. He truly doesn’t seem to relish politics, in the raw, mix-it-up sense. Most of all, he isn’t needy for public attention in the way our most neurotic and gifted politicians have been –“

Really? David, have you noted that the current POTUS, for weeks has been out of town fund-raising, campaigning (allegedly for Democratic party candidates, but, if you listen, it sure sounds like he is campaigning for himself), that is when he is not on vacation. Then there is this.

An interesting example of the administration’s ability to shrink large political personalities is Richard Holbrooke, the special coordinator for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Holbrooke’s garrulous style is utterly different from Obama’s, and the White House appeared to be on the verge of dumping him early this year when the secretary of state is said to have intervened. Holbrooke has been on a short leash — not making trouble, but not as effective as he might be.

Anybody listening to Holbrooke knows that his complete loyalty and deference is to Hillary Clinton whom he finds brilliant to work with. Switch THIS horse mid-course? I don’t think so. He is effective and has the utmost respect for the chain of command.

Finally, *sigh* he ends with this.

Maybe Obama, the anti-politician, really doesn’t care if he gets reelected, so long as he’s doing what he thinks is right. Somehow, I can’t imagine this breakthrough president stepping aside to write law-review articles. But to stand a chance in 2012, he’s going to need someone to light a fire under him, someone who can play politics fiercely — and also can bring in some new voters.

Surely it’s obvious that I am describing Obama’s second-term masterstroke: Vice President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Read more>>>>

Oh, David, David, David!  Let him!  Let him not be re-elected!  And take the “Vice” off that title.  It is about time we recognize that Hillary Clinton, who is fierce on so many levels would probably not, in the second slot, be able to save the ticket.  No!  Her place is at the Top of the Ticket.  It is that or the Democrats can wave bye-bye to the Oval Office which is not, as we are seeing, a playpen.

Finally, we have this by Gil Hoffman in today’s Jerusalem PostLikud: Talks are a huge achievement. Here are a few highlights.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement on Friday that diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would resume on September 2 evoked conflicting reactions from inside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

An official Likud statement released by the head of the party’s reaction team, MK Ophir Akunis, called the American announcement on talks without preconditions a huge achievement for Israel.

This guy promises to be trouble.

MK Danny Danon heard the announcement about the planned summit in the United States, where he is seeking support from Jewish leaders and Republican politicians to oppose territorial concessions in the diplomatic process. Danon intended to start a campaign when the freeze is set to end on September 26, but he said he would have to advance his efforts.

A couple of my favs, however, are, as always, right behind our girl.

Labor chairman Ehud Barak released a statement expressing satisfaction with the beginning of the talks, which he pushed forward in many talks with American officials.

“Israel wants peace with security,” Barak said. “Both sides will have to make courageous decisions in order to reach an agreement.”

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni also praised the restart of the diplomatic process. Her associates said she had pushed for a year and a half for talks to begin at the point where her own negotiations with the Palestinians (when she was foreign minister) ended due to the national election in February 2009.

“She is happy that the talks will cover all the core issues of the conflict,” a Livni associate said.

Read more >>>>

I saw a story that the lovely Secretary of State is co-hosting a birthday party for a particular former POTUS today on Long Island. Cheers! Happy Birthday (again)! I hope they have a great time and dance their shoes off!

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Well, even though we did not get a daily appointments schedule today, we still get a glimpse of our SOS before her meeting with Ehud Barak



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Remarks With Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 23, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s a pleasure to welcome back an old friend and someone who is certainly deeply involved in every important decision that affects Israel’s security and the prospects for peace. I’m looking forward to talking with Minister Barak on a wide range of matters and I thank him again for making time to be here.

DEFENSE MINISTER BARAK: Thank you. I’m glad also to be here. I thought we had come from a place where there is never a dull moment. I find that even here it can happen from time to time. (Laughter.) But we are fully committed to work together with the Secretary to try to find a way to move forward with the peace process in Israel and put aside all the difficulties that arose in the recent weeks and put them behind us in a cooperative manner in order to concentrate on how to change the direction of the events in the whole area. In this regard, I cannot – no one can underestimate the importance, the commitment, devotion, the resources that the Secretary puts into helping players in the region to find a way to move forward. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Ehud. The old proverbial handshake? (Laughter.) Thank you.

QUESTION: How confident are you of getting the conditions right to restart the direct talks?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re going to be talking about this and many other things.

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I do not have any text yet, or even pictures of her speaking. But she was introduced by her Dutch counterpart, Foreign Minister Verhagen and her Spanish counterpart, Foreign Minister Moratinos, along with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. I thought I would share these pictures because if you begin with the earliest post of the Dorothy Height Funeral and end here I do not believe I have ever seen anybody hug and be hugged and kiss and be kissed so much in one day.










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