US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met Palestinian President Mahmound Abbas amid concerns in the West Bank that Israel is backing away from a peace process intended to the creation of a Palestianian state.
In their talks in Ramallah Clinton reassured Abbas that Washington remains committed to the so-called ‘two state’ solution. But Israel may soon have a right-wing government opposed to such an outcome. The reconstruction of Gaza was also high on the agenda. Abbas wants the US to put more pressure on Israel to lift its blockade of the Strip. They say the clampdown is hampering efforts to rebuild in the aftermath of Israel’s offensive there. Seperately, new criticism of US Middle East policy by the Iranian leadership is likely in dismay the White House. Tehran has said President Obama is following what it called the same “wrong path” as his predecessor in supporting Israel, refering to the country as a “cancerous state”. The new US administration has signalled it wants to engage in diplomacy with Iran.