The New York Times has a feature on Hillary Clinton today, juxtaposing her role in the five millionth iteration of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with that of her husband. The article begins:
…For much of her tenure as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been less an architect than an advocate for the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. With the resumption of direct talks last week, she now has no choice but to plunge into the rough and tumble of peacemaking.
Mrs. Clinton will be in the thick of the negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, when they meet on Sept. 14 in Egypt. Her role, several officials say, will be to take over from the administration’s special envoy, George J. Mitchell, when the two sides run into serious obstacles.
It may prove the greatest test yet for Mrs. Clinton, one that could cement her legacy as a diplomat if she solves the riddle that foiled even her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Oh yeah, that really tough riddle. How to make the country that we give three to 11 billion dollars annually in no strings attached funding do what we want them to do. I deal with that riddle a lot too. I go to the dry cleaners I give them my clothes, I pay them and then they don’t give me clothes back. I bring more clothes the next time, I pay them, they don’t give me my clothes back. Even though I keep going there and giving them money to do my dry cleaning, they just keep my clothes and don’t do my dry cleaning. What should I do? Yeah, it’s sphinxian, that one.
There’s some more unintentionally humorous notes in the article such as:
Mr. Netanyahu has promised to allow a moratorium on settlement construction to expire and Mr. Abbas has threatened to walk out of it does.
That old conundrum. Johnny wants to take Billy’s lunch money, but Billy says he’ll pick up his jacks and go home if Billy does that. How does Mommy make Billy stay and play with Johnny after Johnny takes Billy’s lunch money?
And then the article has a significant amount of analysis by Abraham Foxman, the ADL President who recently stated:
“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”
Hillary Clinton, the answer to your riddle.
In other news, Ali Abunimah has an interesting piece up, where questions the orthodoxy that playing ball with Israel has given the West Bank a brighter economic future:
World Bank figures due to be published in coming weeks are likely to show that economic growth in the Gaza Strip in the first quarter of 2010 has exceeded that in the West Bank. While virtually all economic growth in the West Bank is a result of foreign aid, much of the growth in Gaza is attributable to a “parallel economy” that has emerged thanks to the tunnels. This has even created a small new class of nouveaux riches in Gaza.
Just to be clear, that’s Abunimah quoting an unidentified source who has provided consistently accurate information.