Hillary Clinton continued her farcical visit to Pakistan today by blaming Obama’s failure to make any progress with respect to Israeli-Palestinian relations on George W. Bush. Clinton told a group of Pakistani journalists
I think that, look, we all know that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is one that is a very serious and difficult problem that we are working hard also to try to resolve. We inherited a lot of problems. If you remember, when my husband left office, we were very close to an agreement because he worked on it all the time. The next administration did not make it a priority and did not really do much until toward the end. And unfortunately, we are trying to make up for some lost time, in my opinion.
Clinton’s statement goes beyond the usual, ungracious Obama administration mantra that everything is Bush’s fault. Here, Clinton has affirmatively misstated history. Thus, her comments are much closer to the administration’s patently false claim that the Bush White House did no planning regarding Afghanistan.
It is true that Israel and the Palestinians appeared to be close to an agreement during the tail end of the Clintion administration. But the appearance of closeness does not even count in horseshoes. When Clinton left office, the parties were not only nowhere near an agreement, the Palestinians were conducting a robust terror campaign inside the state of Israel. This was the fruit of Clinton’s years, which culminated with Arafat, Clinton’s peace partner, unleashing the terror on the theory, or perhaps the pretext, that Clinton had not extracted more concessions from Israel than he had.
In short, Bush inherited a mess (as the Obama folks like to say) from his predecessor — at least from the perspective of those who care about the security of Israel, as Hillary has claimed, at times, she does.
Bush, though, didn’t publicly blame Bill Clinton for this parlous state of affairs. Instead, he supported the government of Israel in its eventually successful efforts to end the Palestinian terror campaign.
In addition, as Rick Richman points out, Bush endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state if the Palestinian Authority would renounce terrorism; developed the “road map” to peace; urged Israel to withdraw from Gaza (which it did); and helped arrange for the election of a successor to Arafat, one regarded by Clinton and Obama as a moderate and a viable peace partner.
All of this happened in Bush’s first five years in office.
Frankly, I regard Bush’s steps towards “peace” as a mixed bag, at best. But it is simply not true that Bush “did not really do much until toward the end.” Nor is it true that “we were very close to an agreement” when Bill Clinton left office.
President Obama doesn’t understand much when it comes to foreign policy. However, he appears to understand that Hillary Clinton is not ready for prime time diplomacy. Let’s hope he acts on this insight.