Hillary Clinton met separately with the Palestinian president and prime minister in the West Bank today, after sitting down with Israeli leaders yesterday, and announcing the appointment of two senior envoys to Syria. Palestinian leaders implored Clinton to push for a freeze on expanding Israeli West Bank settlements, and open borders for Gaza. As the new occupants of the White House reconfigure the US approach to the Middle East, they believe Syria could be the key to the puzzle, the New York Times reports.
An understanding with Syria would be potent since it wields heavy influence in both Iran and Palestine. But the Bush administration largely shunned the country, recalling its ambassador after the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s prime minister. Palestine, for its part, hopes Clinton’s moves signal a shift away from what they view as a bias toward Israel.