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Clinton: Israel vote outcome 'opens doors' to peace

Jan. 29, 2013 5:06 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2013 9:51 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that the outcome of Israel's parliamentary elections "opens doors" toward peace with the Palestinians.

Referring to the possible inclusion of center-left parties in Benjamin Netanyahu's next government, she said the elections improved the climate for resuming the peace process.

"I actually think this election opens doors, not nails them shut," Clinton told an online forum in response to a question from a student in Beirut. She said a "significant percentage of the Israeli electorate" chose a "different path" internally as well as toward their neighbors.

"What rests at the core of the problem is great mistrust" on both sides, said the outgoing secretary of state. "Somehow we have to look for ways to give the Palestinian people the path to peace, prosperity and statehood they deserve" as well as security for Israelis, Clinton said.

"I know that President Obama (and) my successor, soon-to-be Secretary of State John Kerry, will pursue this, will look for every possible opening."

Kerry won the support of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday to replace Clinton as Obama's new secretary of state. The full Senate was expected to confirm Kerry later Tuesday.

On Thursday Kerry he hoped for a revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

US-brokered talks broke down in 2010 after the Israeli leadership refused to fully freeze expansion in settlements in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.
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