Obama names George Mitchell as Middle East envoy

One of Barack Obama‘s first moves as the 44th president of the United States is expected to be the nomination of Sen. George Mitchell (D-ME) as his Middle East envoy. Mitchell headed the committee appointed by President Bill Clinton to probe the roots of the 2000 al-Aqsa Intifada. A former House majority leader, he also served as President Clinton’s special envoy to Northern Ireland.

The Mitchell Report, turned in after George W. Bush took office in 2001, called for an immediate halt to all violence, rebuilding confidence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority; a full-scale effort by the PA to prevent terrorism; the freezing of Israeli settlement activity and lifting the financial constraints placed on the territories by Israel. The report also urged Israel to limit its use of deadly force.

The report further stated that while then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to Temple Mount was not the immediate catalyst for the violence, it did serve as a provocative agent. The report was accepted by the Sharon government and later became the basis for Bush’s so-called Road Map peace initiative. (YNet, Jan. 20)

See our last post on Israel/Palestine.

  1. Sinister if predictable propaganda
    From San Antonio News, Jan. 22:

    The Mitchell Report’s focus on settlements comes as Israeli leaders are increasingly resigned to the notion that an Obama administration will push them to remove illegal settlements where Bush did not, but that portion of the report drew criticism from the American Jewish right as the appointment leaked out.

    In an interview with Politico, Anti-Defamation League chief Abe Foxman criticized Mitchell’s stance of “neutrality.” “The Swiss were neutral [in World War II],” he said. And the head of the Zionist Organization of America, Mort Klein, decried Mitchell as “overly sympathetic to the Palestinian Arabs.”