U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with various Israeli officials on Monday regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and urged them to make gestures to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.
In meetings with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Clinton said that Israel must make take various steps in order to strengthen the Palestinian Authority. Between meetings with Israeli officials, Clinton met with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
According to an Israeli official who was briefed on the content of the meetings, Clinton told the different Israeli officials that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are the best partners the Israelis ever had, adding that “it is unclear who will come after them.”
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Palestinian issue at the opening of his meeting with Clinton, stating that everything must be done in order to maintain calm in the West Bank and to see whether the peace process can be restarted.
In her meetings in Israel, Clinton referred to her visit to Egypt which took place over the weekend. According to a top Israeli official, Clinton emphasized that newly-inaugurated Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is interested in dealing with domestic issues in the near future, with a focus on the economy. Clinton further stated that Morsi is not interested in causing turmoil in all regarding relations with Israel and the peace agreement between the countries.
Clinton also repeated the U.S. government’s stance according to which Israel has a vested interest in mending its relationship with Turkey, adding that every day that the breakdown in relations continues only causes harm to Israel.
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