Archive for the ‘Mitchell’ Category

Obama Completes Spectacular First Week

January 28, 2009

Barack Obama’s first week in the White House has been spectacular.

He was greated by the largest live crowds ever, perhaps, to attend an inauguration.

He has appointed special envoys in the Middle East (George Mitchell) and for Afghanistan and Pakistan (Richard Holbrooke).

Like Karl Wallenda, the father of the famed high wire act, he pleased liberals with his proclamation on torture and Gitmo without really closing the detention facility and angering conservatives.

He has reached out to everyone: Republicans, Iran, Russia, Muslims, Israelis, Pakistan and everyone in between.

He has launch “policy reviews” all over the map: on Irag and Afghanistan; and on energy and the environment.

He’s gone to Republican lawmakers to hear their concerns — part photo op certainly but also part necessity and conviction.

“Mr. Obama doesn’t have to do that. He could get a stimulus bill passed almost entirely with Democratic votes. But Obama doesn’t want to be yet another president who divides the country,” said Bill Schneider of CNN.

Tonight he will host a “social hour” at the White House to include Republicans and Democrats.

Not a bad first week.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/0
1/28/obama.first.week/index.html

Related:
 Russia ’stops missile deployment in Europe because of Obama’

Obama Envoy in Israel, Seeks End To Hamas Tunnels, Smuggling

Obama: Muslims not America’s enemy, “I have Muslim members of my family”

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Obama Envoy in Israel, Seeks End To Hamas Tunnels, Smuggling

January 28, 2009

President Barack Obama’s new Mideast envoy called Wednesday for an end to Hamas weapons smuggling and a reopening of Gaza’s borders, seeking to strengthen the shaky cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants thrown into turmoil by new violence.

Hours before George Mitchell met with Israeli leaders, warplanes pounded Gaza smuggling tunnels in retaliation for a Palestinian bombing on Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier.

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer

After talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Mitchell said consolidating the cease-fire is “of critical importance.” He said a longer-term truce should be based on “an end to smuggling and reopening of the crossings” into Gaza. Egypt and Israel have kept their borders with Gaza largely closed since Hamas seized control of the territory by force in 2007.

Mitchell’s tour launches the first Mideast foray of the Obama administration. Obama said his envoy would listen to all sides to then craft a way forward with stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Mitchell said that after finishing his consultations in the region and with Europeans, he will report to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on his conclusions for the next steps.

“The United States is committed to vigorously pursuing lasting peace and stability in the region,” said Mitchell, who met earlier Wednesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, the first stop on his Mideast tour.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090128/
ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Gaza: Hamas Bombing, Israeli Air Strikes as Obama Envoy Arrives

January 28, 2009

A bomb attack against an Israeli military patrol along the border with the Gaza Strip  killed an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officer and wounded three others on Tuesday including one who was severely hurt.

The violence started an Israel air attack Tuesday which was followed by more attacks Wednesday.

The Israeli military vowed to respond harshly to any further attacks.

Gaza’s Ramattan news agency reported three airstrikes at the Gaza-Israel border. Israel’s military said it struck tunnels used to smuggle weapons into Gaza at the territory’s southern border.

The actions from both sides — the bombing from Hamas and the air strikes from the IDF — mars the ten day old cease fire and complicates the mission of George Mitchell, President barack Obama’s designated Middle East envoy.

Mitchell is on a trip to the Middle East  now.
Mitchell arrived Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt, where he thanked Egyptian leaders for helping to negotiate the truce.

“It is of critical importance that the cease-fire be extended and consolidated, and we support Egypt’s continuing efforts in that regard,” Mitchell said. “The United States is committed to vigorously pursuing lasting peace and stability in the region. The decision by President Obama to dispatch me to come to this region less that one week after his inauguration is a clear and tangible evidence of this commitment.”

George Mitchell, right, meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama on Monday.

George Mitchell, right, meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama on Monday.

Israel said Hamas was “prominent in the organization accountable for the attack.”

During his eight-day visit, Mitchell plans to meet with leaders in Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Saudi Arabia before returning to the United States next Tuesday, according to the State Department.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

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The Associated Press reported:

Israel responded swiftly, sending tanks and bulldozers into northern Gaza to plow up the attack site and launching an airstrike that wounded a Hamas militant “who was prominent in the organization accountable for the attack,” according to a military statement. Hamas said the Israeli strike injured one of its men as he rode a motorcycle in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

The border violence was the worst since the sides separately declared cease-fires on Jan. 18 to end a three-week Israeli offensive.

Since withdrawing its troops, Israel has threatened to retaliate hard for any violations of the informal truce.

One of its main targets is the network of tunnels used to smuggle arms, money and people into Gaza from Egypt but despite hundreds of strikes during the war smugglers resumed work after the cease-fire.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090128
/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinian
s_955

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Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=123305
0191648&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/
01/28/mitchell.mideast/index.html

Middle East: President on Al-Arabiya, Mitchell Moving, Jimmy Carter Advice to Israel

January 27, 2009

President Obama was on Al-Arabiya TV telling Muslims they are not America’s enemy, envoy George Mitchell was traveling to discuss peace with all sides in the Middle East and former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that Israel will face a “catastrophe” unless it revives the Mideast peace process and establishes an independent Palestinian state.

Related:
Obama: Muslims not America’s enemy, “I have Muslim members of my family”

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WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama threw his weight Monday behind Arab-Israeli peacemaking when he sent envoy George Mitchell to the region with a brief to “engage vigorously” to achieve real progress.

Obama, promising to be more actively engaged in Middle East diplomacy than his predecessor George W. Bush, set the tone for the trip after meeting Mitchell who is due to visit Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and Arab states.

In the short run, the trip is aimed at bolstering a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip — following a three-week Israeli military offensive — and tackling the humanitarian crisis there.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090126/pl
_afp/mideastdiplomacyusenvoy_200901
26230346

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By PETER JAMES SPIELMANN,Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK – Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that Israel will face a “catastrophe” unless it revives the Mideast peace process and establishes an independent Palestinian state.
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In an interview with The Associated Press, he said Arabs will outnumber Jews in the Holy Land in the foreseeable future.

“If we look toward a one-state solution, which seems to be the trend _ I hope not inexorable _ it would be a catastrophe for Israel, because there would be only three options in that case,” Carter said.

One would be to expel large numbers of Palestinians, which he said would amount to “ethnic cleansing.”

The second would be to deprive the Palestinians of equal voting rights, which he said would amount to “apartheid.”

The third would be to give the Palestinians equal voting rights, and therefore the majority, he said.

“And you would no longer have a Jewish state,” Carter said. “The basic decisions would be made by the Palestinians, who would almost very likely vote in a bloc, whereas you would have some sharp divisions among the Israelis, because the Israelis always have different points of view.”

Carter spoke to The Associated Press as his new book, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land,” was released.

Read the rest:
http://ph.news.yahoo.com/ap/20090127/t
wl-mideast-carter-1be00ca.html

Obama Launching First Diplomatic Mission To Middle East

January 25, 2009

The day Barack Obama became President of the United States, Israeli tanks were rumbling out of Gaza and Palestinians were piled up awaiting burial. Unitid Nations storehouse were in ruins.  Accusations were flying that Israel had used white phosphorus — a substanced banned for use in populated areas by civilized people.   It would be difficult to make the other top priorities of the world scene more important than the festering and violent disputes of the Middle East. Despite Russia-Georgia, North Korea, disagreements with China, Pakistan, troubles in Afghanistan and other disputes, Barack Obama is squarely and rightly facing the Middle East….

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President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East will come to Israel Wednesday for talks on keeping alive a fragile Gaza cease-fire and reviving Mideast negotiations, an Israeli foreign ministry official said Saturday.

It is the new administration’s first direct move into Mideast peace efforts.

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer

George J. Mitchell will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and senior Israeli officials, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because Washington has not officially announced the trip.
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George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's newly named ... 
George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama’s newly named Special Envoy to the Middle East.(AFP/Saul Loeb)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced Mitchell in his new role Thursday. His appointment is seen as signaling a renewed push under the Obama administration for a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mitchell will also visit Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at their headquarters in the West Bank, the official said.

The official said Mitchell will discuss restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after Israel’s three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip, and ways to impose an effective arms blockade against the Hamas militants who rule Gaza and have been firing rockets into Israel for years.

The arms embargo and the opening of the blockaded territory’s borders are key to sustaining separate cease-fires by Israel and Hamas.

Clinton-Livni
Tzipi Livni (Left) with Hillary Clinton

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009012
5/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_us

Obama Envoy Mitchell May Go To Middle East This Week

January 24, 2009

President Obama’s Middle East envoy George Mitchell may travel to the Middle East as early as this week.

CNN is reporting that Mitchell the schedule is still being planned, but initial stops include Jerusalem; Ramallah, West Bank; Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan; and possibly Saudi Arabia as well as Europe.

President Barack Obama on Thursday named Mitchell as his special envoy to the region.

But it is not yet clear how much Mitchell can do to formulate a new policy that will satisfy all sides in the region.

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh expressed a widely held view in the Online Journal yesterday:

In naming George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East, President Obama unfortunately made statements indicating no departure from the failing policies of previous administrations.

In particular, Obama emphasized Israel’s right to “defend itself,” never once mentioned things like the occupation or international law, attacked Hamas (a duly elected movement that represents a significant portion of the Palestinian people), supported the strangulation of Gaza, demanded no resistance from an occupied people, and supported the Israeli occupiers in their violence that most recently killed over 400 children.

Former Sen. George Mitchell says that "there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended."

Obama to tap ex-Sen. Mitchell as Mideast envoy

January 20, 2009

Barack Obama plans to name former Sen. George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy in one of his first actions as the new U.S. president, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Mitchell’s appointment could come as early as Tuesday, the newspaper said, quoting unidentified Obama aides.

Obama, who will be sworn in as the next U.S. president at noon EST, has promised to engage on the Middle East immediately as president and a choice of Mitchell as special envoy was seen as affirming his commitment to early action.

Mitchell, 75, led a commission appointed by former President Bill Clinton to find ways to halt Israeli-Palestinian violence.
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Reuters

Former Senator George Mitchell testifies at a House Oversight ... 
Former Senator George Mitchell testifies at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on Capitol Hill, January 15, 2008.(Jason Reed/Reuters)

His 2001 report called for Israelis to freeze construction of new settlements and stop shooting at unarmed demonstrators, and called for Palestinians to prevent terrorist attacks and punish those who perpetrate them.

Mitchell is a former Senate majority leader who later led peace negotiations between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, an effort that led to the 1998 Good Friday Accord aimed at stemming the long-standing conflict there.

Obama has declined to comment in detail on the Gaza crisis and other foreign policy issues during the weeks before he takes over from George W. Bush, citing the principle that there should be only one president at a time.

With Israeli troops withdrawing from Gaza after a 22-day offensive and having declared a ceasefire along with Hamas, the new administration may want to move cautiously, allowing the Egyptians and Europeans first to pursue their own initiatives.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200901
20/pl_nm/us_palestinians_israel_obama