Clinton: Israeli-Palestinian status quo sustainable until 2040

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her role as chief U.S. mediator of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, repeatedly has emphasized that a peace deal is urgently needed within the next 12 months because the status quo for both sides is unsustainable.

In fact, this has become the Obama administration's principal rationale for pressuring Prime Minister Netanyahu to make unilateral concessions so as to keep negotiations going and expedite progress toward a final-status peace agreement in the third year of Obama's presidentail term -- just about the time he might be revving up his 2014 reelection campaign.

But it suddenly may have dawned on Clinton that such a hurried timetable realistically is unattainable, what with Hamas in charge of Gaza and still intent on wiping Israel off the map and West Bank Palestinians still lacking leadership willing and able to make the necessary compromises to reach an agreement and see it through to full, permanent implementation.

At least, that's the impression Clinton left in remarks she made in Jerusalem at the start of a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Here's how she gave the status-quo-is-unsustainable formula an entirely new meaning -- a twist toward far greater elasticity -- that effectively removes any great urgency for cutting a hurried deal.

Said the secretary:

"The status quo is unsustainable -- now that doesn't mean that it can't be sustained for a year, or a decade, or two or three."

Well, if in the secretary's own words, the Israeli-Palestinian status quo can be sustained for the next 30 years, why insist on changing it in the next 12 months? What's all the hurry?

Putting aside Obama's need to earn his Nobel Peace Prize, is Clinton signaling that there may be more propitious circumstances later down the line for an American president to finally snatch a foreign-policy trophy that for so long has remained out of reach?

Perhaps during a Hillary Clinton administration?


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