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Hillary Clinton meets with Palestinian and Israeli. Is something cooking?

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“Right now there’s a vacuum, and a realization that a vacuum is the worst thing you can have, given what can happen to try to fill it,” says Robert Malley, Middle East and North Africa program director for the International Crisis Group in Washington. “So I think the administration wants to do enough to keep the lid on the worst events that could occur, and they’re hoping something can be done to convince the Palestinians not to go to the UN” to unilaterally declare statehood, he adds. “But it’s hard to see anything serious happening until at least next year.”

Secretary Clinton made no public comments after the two meetings, but State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the US was continuing its efforts to keep the two sides talking.

Saying the peace process is "very much alive," Ms. Nuland told reporters the US is "looking for as much direct engagement between Israelis and Palestinians as we can have."

She skirted a question about a US role in reported efforts to set a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Mr. Mofaz, saying only that "Any combination of Israelis and Palestinians getting together and working on their issues would be a step in the right direction."

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