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Clinton travels to a hardened Israel

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After a meeting Monday with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Clinton said that as good friends, the US and Israel could sustain differences of opinion, adding jokingly: "Israel is not shy about expressing opinions" about US policy.

"We happen to believe that moving toward a two-state solution is in Israel's best interests," Clinton said. "It is our assessment that eventually, the inevitability of working toward a two-state solution is inescapable."

But Netanyahu, a longtime critic of the Oslo peace process that brought about the creation of the Palestinian Authority, isn't committed to a two-state solution. His refusal to include a stated promise to pursue such a peace deal in his government guidelines is the main reason Ms. Livni, head of the centrist Kadima party, has spurned offers to join Netanyahu's coalition.

In response to a question at Monday's press conference with Clinton, Livni took an indirect swipe at Netanyahu's values, reaffirming her decision to become an opposition leader rather than join Netanyahu's government.

"I take my pursuit of a two-state solution as a meaningful stance and not as a slogan," Livni said. She said that any leader who is dedicated to maintaining Israel as a state that is both Jewish and democratic cannot come to any other conclusion. "Anyone who wants to defend those two values knows that." She said that a two-state solution was the real route to "return hope, not just to the Palestinians, but to us."

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