The United States plans a new push to promote comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday, suggesting reinvigorated U.S. role in trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
President Barack Obama will lay out U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the coming weeks, Clinton told Arab and U.S. policy makers in a speech that placed particular emphasis on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Obama's launch of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks last year went nowhere and he is under pressure to make a new initiative or face the prospect of the Palestinians seeking the UN General Assembly's blessing for a Palestinian state.
"The president will be speaking in greater detail about America's policy in the Middle East and North Africa in the coming weeks," Clinton said at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, a gathering sponsored by Qatar and the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
"America's core interests and values have not changed, including our commitment to promote human rights, resolve long-standing conflicts, counter Iran's threats and defeat Al-Qaida and its extremist allies," she added. "This includes renewed pursuit of comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace."
Clinton spoke against the backdrop of the popular revolts that have toppled long-time authoritarian leaders in Tunisia and Egypt this year and spurred public protests in much of the Arab world, including Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.
"The status quo between Palestinians and Israelis is no more sustainable than the political systems that have crumbled in recent months," she said, saying the only way to meet both people's aspirations was through a two-state solution.
"And while it is a truism that only the parties themselves can make the hard choices for peace, there is no substitute for continued, active American leadership -- and the president and I are committed to that," she added.
While Obama came into office saying that settling the six-decade Arab Israeli conflict would be a priority, he has little to show for his effort.
Peace talks aimed at ending the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians broke down last year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a partial freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.
Israeli security officials have cautioned that the absence of any peace initiative could spark a new Palestinian revolt. Over 500 Israeli civilians died in 140 Palestinian suicide bomb attacks from 2000 to 2007. More than 4,500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the same period.
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