Should George Mitchell ‘go home’?

Should George Mitchell ‘go home’?

While not actually agreeing with “Re-Think the Middle East” blogger Michael Lame on this, I enjoyed reading his post. I fear that if Obama’s special envoy to Israel and the Palestinians terminated his mission, this would register as but another defeat for a presidential administration that’s reeling on the edge of a free fall. So, if for no other reason, I’d want Sen. Mitchell to stay. I also still harbor the hope, however unlikely, that he may yet pull something off. What do you think?–R. Seliger

Bring George Mitchell Home by Michael Lame

It’s time for President Obama to bring George Mitchell home. No, Mitchell shouldn’t be fired, nor should he resign, as Stephen Walt recently suggested in Foreign Policy. Rather, I would encourage Obama to reassign the former Senate majority leader to duty in the White House.

I advocate this for two reasons. First, the likelihood of success in his current position is small and getting smaller. Second, he is needed more at home than abroad to help address a matter of national importance which is even more pressing than Israeli-Palestinian conflict. … Read the rest online.

By | 2010-02-17T13:49:00-05:00 February 17th, 2010|Blog|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Yehuda Erdman February 18, 2010 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    No I don’t think George Mitchell should go home. His track record in Northern Ireland, which was also a painfully slow and still ongoing process shows he is exactly the right man for the job. Also it is far too soon to write off the chances for making progress in the middle east, although admittedly there is no sign of a breakthrough.
    In my view, however, not all is black. There are signs that the slow and steady pressure applied to Mahmud Abbas is bearing fruit and he may still be enticed to come back to negotiations. Also, despite the fact that Natanyahu heads the most rightwing Israeli cabinet ever, he himself has made key statements that indicate if circumstances are right, progress could be made on peace. Barak is also enigmatic in that he does and says different things which send out mixed signal. Nevertheless I think when push comes to shove, like many Israeli leaders before, he will want to make his legacy known as a peacemaker.
    Israel is waking up to the fact that she is not an island unto itself and pressure applied by friends as well as foes, is making her come belatedly to realise she needs to treat allies more respectfully.
    I am not referring only to the USA but also to the EU which has invested very heavily in time and money towards a peace settlement in Israel/ Palestine. The latest fiasco of the accusation that Mossad assassinated al-Mabhouh in Dubai, is reportedly sending shockwaves through many diplomatic channels. If allegations are true, then Mossad used not only British, Irish, German but also French nationals’ identities. In the case of the UK, the authorities will respond extremely harshly to Israel’s misuse of British passports because an assurance was given in 1987 that this would not happen again.
    After Israel made such a song and dance about the Goldstone report on the Gaza War, and recently made representations to the British Government to change the law so that top Israeli officials could visit the UK without fear of arrest for war crimes, it begs belief that Israel might allow Mossad to “kick in the teeth” a friendly power like the UK.
    This follows a few blunders by the Israeli foreign ministry, especially the rediculous incident when Ayalon (deputy foreign Minister) publicly humiliated the Turkish Ambassador to Israel. Many have questioned Lieberman’s fitness to be Foreign Minister in view of his extreme bluntness and lack of diplomatic skills.
    All this will put Natanyahu under pressure to shift the Israeli position on peace and try to earn some “brownie points” with the USA administration. In such a volatile situation, the steady pair of hands of George Mitchell are required all the more.

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