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Monday, January 25, 2010

Stephen Walt says Mitchell should resign

Stephen Walt, who co-authored the infamous Israel Lobby (pictured) and is known as one of Israel's fiercest critics, called for US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell to resign, in a blog post at Foreign Policy on Friday.
As for Mitchell himself, he should resign because it should be clear to him that he was hired under false pretenses. He undoubtedly believed Obama when the president said he was genuinely committed to achieving Israel-Palestinian peace in his first term. Obama probably promised to back him up, and his actions up to the Cairo speech made it look like he meant it. But his performance ever since has exposed him as another U.S. president who is unwilling to do what everyone knows it will take to achieve a just peace. Mitchell has been reduced to the same hapless role that Condoleezza Rice played in the latter stages of the Bush administration -- engaged in endless "talks" and inconclusive haggling over trivialities-and he ought to be furious at having been hung out to dry in this fashion.

The point is not that Obama's initial peace effort in the Middle East has failed; the real lesson is that he didn't really try. The objective was admirably clear from the start -- "two states for two peoples" -- what was missing was a clear strategy for getting there and the political will to push it through. And notwithstanding the various difficulties on the Palestinian side, the main obstacle has been the Netanyahu government's all-too obvious rejection of anything that might look like a viable Palestinian state, combined with its relentless effort to gobble up more land. Unless the U.S. president is willing and able to push Israel as hard as it is pushing the Palestinians (and probably harder), peace will simply not happen. Pressure on Israel is also the best way to defang Hamas, because genuine progress towards a Palestinian state in the one thing that could strengthen Abbas and other Palestinian moderates and force Hamas to move beyond its talk about a long-term hudna (truce) and accept the idea of permanent peace.
Walt goes on to recite the usual drivel about how 'peace' isn't breaking out all over because the Obama administration is unwilling to force Israel into what we 'all know' 'peace' should look like (this despite the 'settlement freeze'). As if 'peace' would suddenly break out if Obama the all-knowing would only do what needs to be done.

Shmuel Rosner sums this up by saying that maybe Mitchell is doing something right, and maybe he is. But more likely, the current impasse is because the 'Palestinians' still have not given up their goal of destroying the Jewish state (God forbid), a fact that - along with their refusal to come to the table - Walt doesn't even mention.


At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"...'peace' isn't breaking out all over because the Obama administration is unwilling to [use] force [against] Israel..."

But Israel must not, under any circumstances, use force to maintain the peace?

Do their ears not hear what their lips are saying?

At 9:03 AM, Blogger mrzee said...

"as hard as it is pushing the Palestinians"

Has any President ever pushed the palestinians or any arabs to accept any Israeli demands? Even Bush never did anything more than ignore arafat.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger sarah leah said...


None of them is "doing" right. They're all listing to the left.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Steven Walt should talk to Barry Rubin. The Palestinians don't want to negotiate. Why should they when rejectionism brings them world sympathy and perpetuates their victimhood status? They have no intention of giving up those benefits for statehood.


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