Clinton: Israel situation 'unsustainable'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will tel Aipac that America has a duty to help but also advise Israel - as a friend.


By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010
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Clinton: Our bond with Israel is "rock solid".

Clinton: Our bond with Israel is "rock solid".

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called the current situation in Israel “unsustainable” but guaranteed the Obama administration’s “rock solid” commitment to Israel.

In a speech prepared to deliver to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) in Washington, which was released early by her office, Mrs Clinton will say: “Guaranteeing Israel's security is more than a policy position for me. It is a personal commitment that will never waver.

But she also said that, as Israel’s friend, it was the US government’s “responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed".

She added: “There is another path. A path that leads toward security and prosperity for all the people in the region. It will require all parties - including Israel - to make difficult but necessary choices.”

Mrs Clinton will also call for Hamas to recognise Israel’s tight to exist and to renounce violence, and repeated previous US calls for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

She also reiterated commitment that a nuclear-armed Iran would be “unacceptable” to the United States.

"Let me be very clear: The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," she said.

Mrs Clinton’s speech comes as the latest in a long-running dispute between the US and Israel over the plan to build 1,600 homes in east Jerusalem.

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ruled out any freeze of building work in Jerusalem. He will fly to America today, speak to Aipac and meet Mrs Clinton and US President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet over the weekend: "As far as we are concerned, building in Jerusalem is like building in Tel Aviv.”

US Special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is currently in Israel attempting to restart talks.

He has met Mr Netanyahu for talks where the Prime Minister is believed to have apologised for the timing of the announcement of the building work, but not for giving approval.

Last updated: 1:21pm, March 22 2010