Mideast talks perhaps ‘most important’ right now

Updated
Let me finish tonight with perhaps the most important political event happening right now. I’m referring to the peace talks in the Mideast. If we get peace over there, if we settle the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, if we get a two-state solution that protects Israel’s security and gives national respect to the Palestinians, it could have historic benefits for our own country. I say it often, the real battle between East and West is taking place over the café tables of Cairo and Damascus and Amman. There the young people of the Arab world are discussing and deciding their futures. Do they want to study engineering here in universities like Michigan State or do they sympathize with our violent enemies? We have got to win that argument. One powerful way to do is to reclaim the peacemaking role we’ve played over the years. We could not have better people working on this: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Senator George Mitchell. Secretary Clinton is a top-drawer American politician with a record of both strong support for Israel and strong support for a peace agreement. As she has noted, she is the first American leader to publicly advocate a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state. She took some heat for it at home but there it is. George Mitchell managed to negotiate peace between the Nationalist and Unionist sides in Northern Ireland, a brutal undertaking that he championed courageously and relentlessly to its conclusion. Israel has a strong leader in Bibi Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas is a credible leader on the Palestinian side. Abbas said today that there is no alternative to the talks that are now underway. If they can achieve a deal over Jerusalem, over the territorial border, over security, one that creates a real, autonomous Palestanian country, which can truly take its place in this region; if Israel can free itself of the moral and religious burden of the millions who wish that autonomy; there will be a pair of winners in the region. And we Americans will be relieved of the endless antipathy of a billion Islamic people who see us as hostile to their dignity and rights of the Palestinians - an antipathy that has been such a powerful weapon to our enemies. As I said, the most important politics for our country is now taking place far from home. Fortunately for us, it could not be in better hands than those of Hillary Clinton and George Miller.

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Mideast talks perhaps 'most important' right now

Updated