Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hillary's pitiful damage control

Reports in both the New York Times and the Washington Post make it plain that, as far as her Arab interlocutors are concerned, Ms. Clinton really stepped in it with her comments about Netanyahu's "unprecedented" concessions on the West Bank settlements.  She has hastened to switch to damage-control mode, but the damage is done, and I'm not sure how much control is possible at this point.  She's gone from a smiling appearance with Netanyahu to a hurried, "no questions" meeting with Arab representatives.  The latter are angry, confused, and feeling betrayed (or, shall we say, "suckered") by an Obama administration that came on like gang-busters with it early outreach campaign, but that seems to be showing its true colors by casting Netanyahu (whose Foreign Minister, let's not forget, is overtly an anti-Arab racist) as a courageous peace-maker and by dissing the Goldstone report, in which a highly respected legal expert with deep ties to Israel documents the brutalities of the Israeli attack on Gaza last December-January. 

As reported in the Bloomberg News account,

Before Clinton tempered her earlier remarks, Amre Moussa, secretary-general of the 22-member Arab League and a senior Egyptian diplomat, told reporters he feared the peace process had been crippled by her comments in Jerusalem.
“I still wait until we have our meetings,” said Moussa, also in Morocco for the Forum for the Future conference. “But failure is in the atmosphere all over.”
“All of us, including Saudi Arabia, including Egypt, are deeply disappointed” by Clinton’s words in Jerusalem, he said. She left the impression that “Israel can get away with anything.”

And speaking of the Goldstone report  . . . let's not forget that a House resolution damning that report is about to be voted upon, and is sure to pass.  Does anyone else find it strange/irksome/scary/disgraceful that the Goldstone report is receiving more honest, critical scrutiny in the Israeli media than in the halls of Congress?

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