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Clinton says she will help to create Palestinian state while supporting Israel

Article published on the 2009-03-03 Latest update 2009-03-04 09:20 TU

Clinton and Netanyahu in Jerusalem(Credit: Reuters)

Clinton and Netanyahu in Jerusalem
(Credit: Reuters)

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she will work for the creation of a Palestinian state on Tuesday, while continuing to support Israel. She made the announcement during her first trip to the region since being appointed by US President Barack Obama. Clinton said that she was sending two envoys from her delegation to Syria.

"There are a number of issues we have between Syria and the United States as well as the larger regional concerns that Syria obviously poses," she said after her meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Clinton said that a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine is "inescapable". She is also holding talks with right-wing Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu, who also held the top position in 1996, was against the Oslo peace process, and analysts indicate that he will not push for establishing a Palestinian state.

He has said that he will focus on building up the nearly non-existent Palestinian economy.

When asked, Clinton said that she looked forward to working with Israel's new government, but said, "We might have opinions that we will express from time to time."

Clinton has asserted that the US would pursue "aggressive diplomacy".

But there need to be more changes, says journalist Peretz Kidron.

"If [US President Barack] Obama merely continues the Bush policy of more or less backing anything and everything that Israel does or at least ignoring the more flagrant violations of human rights and international law, that will be fine from the point of view of the Israeli government," he told RFI.

When asked if US pressure could be effective in the peace process, Kidron says, "If it's a far-right coalition with strong opposition in the Knesset [Israeli parliament], and really effective pressure is applied by the US, (the coalition] is likely to break."

Analysis: Peretz Kidron in Jerusalem

03/03/2009 by Chris Thompson