Obama’s Complex Puzzle For A Middle-East Peace Push

68722904_fd63ac0cbcYesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was in Israel & Jordan. His trip to Israel wasn’t really focused on the peace process, but more on a complex dual message to the Netanyahu administration & Iran. Gates reiterated that the Obama administration shares Israel’s concerns about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. The Secretary of  Defense mentioned that  Iran was quickly running out of time to enter meaningful discussions on the matter of nuclear weapons development. However, Gates’ objective was mainly to put a break on Israel’s  intentions  to attack Iran in a pre-emptive military strikes.

Today, it is the turn of George Mitchell, the Obama administration envoy in the Middle-East. The former US Senator had a 3 hours meeting with Israel’s PM Netanyahu, both sides said they made ” good progress” in a press conference after the meeting.

George Mitchell elaborated a bit & made this statement: ” President Obama’s vision is a comprehensive peace in the Middle-East which includes peace between Israel & the Palestinians, between Syria & Israel, and between Israel & Lebanon. For a full normalization of relations between Israel and all of its neighbours in the region, all sides must take steps, some of them difficult, some of them controversial. For the Arab states, that means meaningful steps toward normalization of relations with Israel. For the Palestinians, it means expanding & improving their security forces, to take action against incitement and to refrain from any words or deeds that may make it more difficult to move quickly toward successful negotiations. For Israel, that means making possible, improved access, movement and economic growth for Palestinians, and dealing with difficult issues like settlements & outposts.”

Apparently some progress were made during Mitchell & Netanyahu’s meeting on the issue of freezing the settlements expansion. George Mitchell will be holding talks with the Palestinians & Syria in the coming days. The former Senator has a lot of work on his plate to jump start the moribund peace process, but at least the Obama administration is making the challenge of a peaceful Middle-East  one of its top foreign policy priorities.

If any Americans diplomat/politician can pull this off, it is George Mitchell. The former Senator has a personal connection with the Middle-East:He is half Lebanese.

If all parties are willing to make the necessary compromises, may be one day the shameful wall (see photo) separating Israel from the Palestinians territories could come down.


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