January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused the United States of lagging in its commitment to seeing the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Abbas told Al-Jazeera that the Palestinians would agree to return to peace talks with Israel only if the United States agreed to recognize a state within 1967 borders and adhere to security accords reached during the Bush administration.

Fielding criticism to the same regard in Doha, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters that the U.S. was determined to work toward achieving a separate state for the Palestinians.

"We have spent a lot of time and we will continue to spend a lot of time working to build enough confidence on both sides so that they can make decisions that will by necessity mean compromises," Clinton said on the sidelines of a regional development conference.

Clinton also called on Arab states to join the U.S. in asking "what more can we do to help the Palestinian people continue their state-building efforts," which she called "a very positive development of the last several years."

The secretary of state also defended Israel's military caution, in a combative exchange with an Al-Jazeera reporter in Doha who asked why Arab countries should heed her criticism when the U.S. could not even get its longtime ally, Israel, to make peace with the Palestinians.

"Israel is a sovereign country and it makes its own decisions," Clinton said

"You often make decisions based on your own experience and history," she said. "And when the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon they got Hezbollah and 40,000 rockets and when they pulled out of Gaza they got Hamas and 20,000 rockets."

She also said that the U.S. "can't stop a lot of countries from doing things that we disagree with and we speak out against," adding: "I wish there were a way we could tell a lot of countries what they should do because there are a lot of countries doing things that are not in the best interests of their own people, their neighbors or the world," she added.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017