Clinton: Israel-Palestinians the focus for now


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration’s focus on Israeli-Arab peace is solely on the Palestinian track for now, Hillary Rodham Clinton said.

In her first news briefing as U.S. secretary of state, Clinton was asked Tuesday about her earlier pledges to advance Israel-Syria talks. She said the focus now was appropriately on the new special envoy to the Israel-Palestinian talks, George Mitchell, and his visit this week to the region.

"We want to give him the opportunity to listen and bring back his impressions and information," Clinton said. "We are at this moment focused only on the Israel-Palestinian track. And I think it’s important to put the emphasis where it rightly belongs. We have, as I said, some short-term objectives such as a durable cease-fire, which as you know has receded somewhat today because of the offensive action against the IDF along the border."

A border attack Tuesday on an Israeli patrol left one Israeli soldier dead and three wounded. Israel responded with an airstrike that killed a Palestinian terror operative, the Israeli army said, and the following day by bombing Hamas smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border.

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