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Doha – PNN - At a press conference in Doha, Qatar, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the power of American foreign policy was inherently limited when it came to pressuring Israel.
Asked by an al-Jazeera reporter why Arab countries should take US advice when US pressure on Israel proved ineffectual, Clinton explained, “Israel is a sovereign country and it makes its own decisions. [The US] can’t stop a lot of countries from doing things that we disagree and we speak out against. I wish there was a way we could tell a lot of countries what they should do because there are a lot of countries doing things that are not in the best interests of their own people, their neighbors, or the world.”
American pressure on Israel’s illegal settlement policies has amounted, in the past months since Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were derailed over the issue of settlements, to statements of disappointment and discouragement. Most recently, Clinton called the demolition of the historic Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem a “disturbing development.”
However, neither Clinton nor US President Barack Obama has been able to enforce any kind of settlement freeze in the Palestinian territories. Clinton speculated that Israel’s intransigence was due to caution over possible new violence in the West Bank.
“You often make decisions based on your own experience and history,” said Clinton. “And when the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon they got Hezbollah and 40,000 rockets and when they pulled out of Gaza they got Hamas and 20,000 rockets.”
Secretary Clinton was in Doha for a regional development conference.