Hillary Clinton has arrived in Jerusalem as she pursues her first visit to the Middle East as US Secretary of State.
She will meet leaders of the outgoing Israeli administration as well as prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu. A peace deal may have eluded her husband but, speaking in Egypt earlier at a Gaza aid conference, Clinton voiced optimism about the prospects today. “I know that it can be done,” she told a news conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. “I believe that with all my heart. The timing of it will depend on human effort and political will on all sides. It is not either or, it is everyone.” Netanyahu, of Israel’s right-wing Likud party, is trying to form a coalition after last month’s election. A narrow, hawkish government could put him on a collision course with US President Obama’s promise to move quickly to a Palestinian statehood deal. With settlement building seen as an obstacle to that objective. Clinton’s visit coincides with claims that Israel plans to build some 73,000 new homes in the occupied West Bank.