At the 2015 Saban Forum, Clinton expressed the strategic opportunity of reviving the Arab Peace Initiative in order to layout the process or normalizing relations with Israel.
“Today in the middle-east Israel and its Arab neighbors find that many of their strategic interests are increasingly aligned. That creates room for greater coordination. Neither Israel nor its Arab neighbors want to see Iran increase its influence in the region or violent jihadists gain greater footholds. So we should encourage more intelligence sharing and security operation like the quiet partnership between Israel and Egypt to stabilize the Sinai.
And you may have seen that Israel plans to open a diplomatic mission in the UAE to participate in the international renewable energy agency which I was proud to support locating in Abu Dhabi. Imagine how that kind of step could be followed by broader diplomatic engagement. Converging interests between Israel and key Arab states may make it possible to promote progress on the Israeli/Palestinian issue and of course progress between Israelis and Palestinians could contribute toward great cooperation between Israel and Arabs.
Right now Arab leaders could send a powerful message by reviving and updating the Arab peace initiative and laying out a process for normalizing relations with Israel and accepting it as a Jewish state alongside an independent Palestine. And Israel could seize the opportunity to directly respond to such an initiative. There’s no magic wand, but there’s a real strategic opportunity worth exploring. That said it’s also time to stop pretending that solving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will solve all of the middle-easts problems.
For too long Arab states have used the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as an excuse to avoid facing their own challenges at home. The people of the region have shown that they will no longer accept this. Their leaders should drop the excuses and pick up the pace of getting their own houses in order and as they do the United States will support them. We should reaffirm that the gulf is a region of vital interest to America and commit to sustaining a robust military relationship with our partners there to defend against radical jihadism and Iranian aggression in any form.
So if you add it all up radical jihadism on the rise, Iran seeking to extend its reach, efforts to delegitimize Israel we can see how crucial it is for the United States and Israel to stand together closer than ever and we can see how Israel’s search for security, stability and peace goes hand in hand with the broader effort the United States must lead to secure and stabilize the middle-east.”
To read the entire transcript: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/events/2015/12/04-saban-2015-israel-us-yesterday-today-tomorrow/transcripts/uncorrected-transcriptkeynote-addressformer-secretary-of-state-hillary-rodham-clinton.pdf