Clinton on Mideast peace: 'Please don't give up'

When it comes to Mideast peace, Secretary Clinton appealed yesterday to all who care about the issue: "Please don't give up in the face of difficulty."

She made the remark last night in a keynote speech at a gala event hosted by the American Task Force on Palestine. She acknowledged that moving foward with peace talks is tough and that there's no "magic formula" to overcoming obstacles: "I cannot stand here tonight and tell you there is some magic formula that I have discovered that will break through the current impasse. But I can tell you, we are working every day, sometimes every hour, to create the conditions for negotiations to continue and succeed."

Clinton also acknowledged that coming to peace is tough psychologically for the parties involved because it requires moving past so much historical animosity. To rounds of applause, she quoted Palestinian poet Naomi Shihab Nye as saying, "I'm not interested in who suffered the most. I'm interested in people getting over it"; then after the applause, Clinton went on to say, "And that is the biggest obstacle of them all. I know people cannot forget. I know most people cannot forgive. But I do know also that the future holds the possibility of progress, if not in our lifetimes then certainly in our children's."

Clinton also encouraged people to be look forward, not backward, saying, "People on all sides of this conflict must choose to move beyond a history they cannot change to embrace a future they can shape together." She also urged people to adopt a glass-half-full, as opposed to glass-half-empty, mentality: "Now, in any tough negotiation, it is natural to focus on what we are being asked to give up. But it is important to keep in mind what you, the Palestinians and Israelis, stand to gain."

Clinton was also optimistic in her assessment of prospects of an independent Palestinian state, saying:

It is easier than ever to envision an independent Palestine able to govern itself, uphold its responsibilities to provide for its own people, and ensure security. This gives confidence to negotiators on both sides and hope to those who have long looked forward to that day.

Under President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad's leadership, and under Prime Minister Fayyad's two-year plan, the Palestinian Authority is going beyond rhetoric and actually building a new reality. It is reversing a history of corruption and working hard to produce results that matter in Palestinians' daily lives.

Clinton also pointed out promising news from the World Bank:

The World Bank recently reported that if the Palestinian Authority maintains its momentum in building institutions and delivering public services, it is, and I quote, "well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future."  

Below is the video of her remarks:

Screen shot from U.S. State Department video