12 thoughts on “Mitchell as Obama’s New Mideast Envoy – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I really wish everyone would sit down and take a long, hard, cold look at this sentence:

    Major pro-Israel groups “tend to favor the kind of mediator with the least prospects of success,” said MJ Rosenberg, a longtime pro-Israel activist and policy director for the Israel Policy Forum (IPF).

    If this is an accurate quote of M.J. Rosenberg and if he really does “accurately conveys the extreme nervousness of the pro-Israel lobby” then we should all sit down and cry quite a while for what this really means is that they, the Pro-Israel lobby, doesn’t want a real peace – just something that keeps the Palestinians at bay – in some sort of limbo forever. It means that they have been lying to the American people for a very long time and that they never really wanted peace just the subjugation of the Palestinian people.

    When will we stop listening to these people?

  2. Hezbollah geared up for Israeli ‘surprise’
    Thu, 22 Jan 2009 15:20:14 GMT

    Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem
    The Lebanese Hezbollah has warned that it is prepared to counter any Israeli action, saying Tel Aviv remains a threat to the Middle East.

    “Hezbollah is prepared and ready for any surprise. We have experts and trainers. As long as Israel exists in the region, it poses a threat to Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and the entire region,” said Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem in an interview with Orange TV late Wednesday.

    Israel fought a 33-day war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 to destroy the military power of the Lebanese resistance group. According to a recently published Winograd report, the attack backfired and wreaked a humiliating defeat on Israel.

    According to Qassem, Tel Aviv inability to end Hezbollah presence in Lebanon in its 2006 war against the Lebanese movement may trigger another wave of Israeli military operations against Lebanon.

    The former head of the Israeli National Security Council, Giora Eiland, has also commented on the issue, warning that Israel could once again fail if it stages military strikes against Lebanon for a third time.

    Hezbollah has reportedly doubled its military might since its victory over Tel Aviv in the Israeli war against Lebanon in July 2006.

    In a recent report, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy revealed that a third military conflict between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel is likely to happen in the near future.

    Commenting on the recent Israeli aggression, Qassem said he believes Tel Aviv did not achieve any of its objectives in the Gaza Strip and thus cannot claim victory.

    Touching on the Saudi-proposed Arab peace initiative adopted at the annual Arab League Summit in Beirut in 2002, the Hezbollah official explained that all such efforts were “buried after the Gaza war”.

    The Saudi peace initiative endeavors to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to normalize relations between Arab states and Israel in exchange for a full Israeli pullout from the Palestinian territories it has occupied.

    The initiative is also directed at reaching a just settlement of the Palestinian refugee crisis.

    MP/AA

  3. The Mitchell appointment is the first and only thing that makes me slightly hopeful about Obama on I/P issues. But only slightly hopeful at this stage.

  4. So now the AIPAC crowd admits that their entire rhetoric was BS. They aren’t for “enhancing the U.S.-Israeli relationship”, and they have contradicted their own rhetoric that “even-handed” = “inevitably pro-Israel in the most right-wing ways”.

    Glad that reality now has a voice in the Administration, instead of empty Hasbara.

  5. Not sure I agree with you on this appointment, Richard. Yes. Mitchell has an impressive CV, but many who have tried show independence in the face of the Lobby have had their careers shortened. I think Obama is also beholden to the Lobby. So far it’s all froth and there is nothing that indicates any change in policy vis a vis the ME.

  6. I can’t find a transcript (at least not yesterday, but maybe this is just a reflection of poor google search skills on my part). Anyway, Obama gave a speech on the Middle East yesterday and it sounded the same as his AIPAC speeches–in particular, he’s critical of Hamas terrorism, but only speaks in terms of sorrow for the loss of life on both sides in the Gaza war. Almost any Israeli politician could do the same. And if the aid is to be funneled through the PA, then we may not have change at all.

    One has to pin one’s hopes on the idea that Obama is essentially deceiving his AIPAC supporters and everyone else about how he really feels, which is not a style of leadership that is going to change people’s minds, I don’t think.

  7. I saw the speech (or parts of it) on Charlie Rose. The Angry Arab (Asad AbuKhalili) gives his interpretation in the link below and while he is characteristically angry, the pro-Israel slant that he sees was definitely in the speech just as he says–

    Link

  8. This link contains a portion of Obama’s Mid-East speech, and a response by Noam Chomsky, including Chomsky’s take on George Mitchell:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/23/noam_chomsky_obamas_stance_on_gaza

    excerpt:
    Chomsky: In Israel, again, you have to look at what he [Mitchell] avoided. He says, “Yes, we want to have a Palestinian state.” Where? OK? He said not a word about—lots of pleasantries about everyone should live in peace, and so on, but where is the Palestinian state? Nothing said about the US-backed actions continuing every day, which are undermining any possibility for a viable Palestinian state: the takeover of the territory; the annexation wall, which is what it is; the takeover of the Jordan Valley; the salients that cut through the West Bank and effectively trisect it; the hundreds of mostly arbitrary checkpoints designed to make Palestinian life impossible—all going on, not a word about them.

    So, OK, we can have—in fact, you know, the first Israeli government to talk about a Palestinian state, to even mention the words, was the ultra right-wing Netanyahu government that came in 1996. They were asked, “Could Palestinians have a state?” Peres, who had preceded them, said, “No, never.” And Netanyahu’s spokesman said, “Yeah, the fragments of territory that we leave to them, they can call it a state if they want. Or they can call it fried chicken.” Well, that’s basically the attitude.

    And Mitchell had nothing to say about it. He carefully avoided what he knows for certain is the core problem: the illegal, totally illegal, the criminal US-backed actions, which are systematically taking over the West Bank, just as they did under Clinton, and are undermining the possibility for a viable state.

  9. Good for President Obama to appoint MidEast Envoy
    George John Mitchell who is a heavy -weight
    experienced diplomat who is even-handed and just.

    There needs to be a solution whereby Palestine has
    a return of their land, water rights, homes , and much
    more..Let us hope that MidEast Envoy Mitchell can
    bring about a settlement of a return of what belongs
    to Palestine and also a stopping of the rocket firing..

  10. What we need is a Mid East Envoy who is fair and
    brings justice to Palestine/Israel like we hope
    George Mitchell will be able to do.

    Mitchell helped resolve the IRELAND/ENGLAND fighting
    and wars which go back 800 years..

    Let us hope MidEast Envoy George Mitchell can bring
    about a TWO STATE SOLUTION for Israel and
    Palestine.. To do this involves a negotiated settlement
    between the two parties and a return to the 1967
    Arab-Israel borders, or better still to 1948 borders…

  11. Heard Chomsky talk about Mitchell on Democracy Now. He, along with the head of Hamas, thinks that Mitchell and Obama are too similar to Bush when it comes to Israel. The paradox, of course is that the AIPAC crowd is kvetching that it’s too UNLIKE Bush’s policy.

    If you’re being condemned on both extremes… you’re doing something right.

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