Bill Clinton on ABC:
Half of the energy coming out of all this organization and money-raising for terror comes out of the allegations around the unresolved Palestinian issue. If there were a Palestinian state working in partnership, with the policies Mr. Fayyad’s following on the West Bank, it would be a whole different world.
All the Arabs would identify with Israel. They’d have a political and economic partnership. The whole economic basis in the Middle East would shift from oil to ideas. Look at what the Saudi Arabians are doing — building six new towns. The — the UAE wins the international competition for the clean energy agency. And they’re going to build a carbon neutral city in the UAE. And nobody thinks about this…
How could the Syrians stay out there alone cooperating with the Iranians and letting Hezbollah people travel through Syria and doing all the things they do. If they were at peace with the Palestinians, they would have to come along with the rest of the Arab states. There would be a peace between Israel and Syria. This is a huge deal.
Presidents supposedly live in a bubble that insulates them from reality. I guess Clinton managed to replicate that bubble on his own, perhaps with some help from Jimmy Carter.
I favor a two-state solution and think it would help reduce tensions in the region. But Arabs becoming close partners with Israel? It’s not as if they were all that friendly toward Israel when the West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands, in the all years before 1967.
As for Syria, Clinton seems blithely unaware of its perennial interest in ruling Lebanon, which it does with the help of Hezbollah and Iran.
Finally, with regard to terrorism, Clinton’s comments are mostly indecipherable, but he should know from personal experience that Al Qaeda launched its war on the United States because of our support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, not Israel.
For some, like Jimmy Carter, exaggerating the regional impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an indirect way of blaming Israel for all of the problems in the region. As for Clinton, perhaps he just wants to believe that he was on the brink of solving every conflict in the Middle East when, for one bright moment, Arafat and Barak were on the brink of a final settlement.