A drought affected corn crop is seen near Paris, Missouri July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
JERUSALEM (AP) — Mideast peace, America's defining issue for decades of dealings with Israel and its Arab neighbors, was just a postscript Monday as Hillary Rodham Clinton made perhaps her final visit to the region as secretary of state.
Three years after President Barack Obama declared the plight of the Palestinians "intolerable," his administration no longer sees the failing Arab-Israeli peace efforts with the same immediacy. U.S. interests are focused now on Iran and Syria, though the deep differences between Israel and the Palestinians are not ignored.
"Peace among Israel, the Palestinian people and all of Israel's Arab neighbors is crucial for Israel's long-term progress and prosperity," Clinton said following discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country's president, foreign minister and defense minister.
Clinton also met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, but she couldn't report any progress toward an accord that might secure an independent Palestine and an Israel at peace with its neighbors.
In a departure from the usual pattern for top U.S. diplomats, she did not travel to the Palestinian Authority's West Bank seat of government in Ramallah.
The Palestinians said a visit was unnecessary because Clinton had met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, just a few days earlier in Paris.
Israel has defied Obama's call to halt settlement construction in occupied lands, and the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has refused to resume negotiations, leaving peace hopes in a tense status quo with no breakthrough in sight....READ MORE