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Clinton: Progress on Palestinians, Iran go hand-in-hand

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hillary Clinton said Israel could lose Arab support for countering the Iranian threat if Israel does not pursue peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

"For Israel to get the kind of strong support it is looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can’t stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts," the U.S. Secretary of State said Thursday at a House Appropriations Committee hearing. "They go hand in hand."

Arab countries "believe that Israel’s willingness to re-enter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran," she said.

A report in the Washington Post on Wednesday said officials in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government won’t move ahead on Palestinian peace talks until they see progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

Clinton added that she would not "prejudge" the views of Israel before Netanyahu’s visit to Washington next month.

She also called the Bush administration’s policy on Iran a "failure."

"The Bush policy did not deter Iran one bit in its ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons and to support terror organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas," she told the committee.

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