Monday, January 26, 2009

Start by Listening: Obama to George Mitchell

In a radio recording of Obama's message about this send-off he said "Start by listening...We Americans too often dictate"

The tone of this article captures this intention...Let's ALL PRAY!!!

Excerpt from article below: (Obama) placed a strong emphasis on the peacemaking efforts, which come at a time when many analysts rate the chances for Arab-Israeli peace as the worst in decades."The cause of peace in the Middle East is important to the United States and our national interests," Obama said. "It's important to me personally. It is important to Arabs and Jews. It is important to Christians, and Muslims, and Jews all around the world."

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From the Los Angeles Times

Obama sends George Mitchell on Mideast peace mission

The president says the special Middle East envoy will speak for the White House in a search for 'progress, not just photo ops.'
By Paul Richter

6:41 PM PST, January 26, 2009

Reporting from Washington — President Obama dispatched his special Middle East envoy on his inaugural peacemaking trip Monday, declaring that former Sen. George J. Mitchell would speak for the White House in a search for "progress, not just photo ops."

Obama's public appearance with Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was his second in five days and placed a strong emphasis on the peacemaking efforts, which come at a time when many analysts rate the chances for Arab-Israeli peace as the worst in decades.

"Now, understand that Sen. Mitchell is going to be fully empowered by me and fully empowered by Secretary Clinton," he said, appearing at the White House. "So when he speaks, he will be speaking for us."

Some analysts have warned that if the administration puts its prestige on the line and the current cease-fire between Israel and the militant group Hamas collapses, it could be an early black mark for the Obama team.

Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, said the announcement was intended to stress that Mitchell is speaking for Obama and to push back against anyone critical of the appointment. Sending Mitchell to the region also allows Obama to take action without "getting bogged down in the details."

"He can say, 'George is on it,' " Levy said.

Obama promised in his campaign to work for peace beginning early in his presidency. The flurry of action in his first week in office also addresses criticism that, as president-elect, he was detached from the Gaza Strip fighting.

"The cause of peace in the Middle East is important to the United States and our national interests," Obama said. "It's important to me personally. It is important to Arabs and Jews. It is important to Christians, and Muslims, and Jews all around the world."

Mitchell, who was named only last Thursday, left Monday for an eight-day trip to the Middle East and Europe. Mitchell will stop in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as well as Paris and London.

Obama hopes Mitchell can identify ways to "solidify the cease-fire, ensure Israel's security, also ensure that Palestinians in Gaza are able to get the basic necessities they need and that they can see a pathway towards long-term development that will be so critical in order for us to achieve a lasting peace."

The administration's ambitious peace push has been welcomed by many liberals, but has stirred some unease among more conservative supporters of Israel, who fear that the plans for "evenhandedness" mean that Israel will come under new pressure.

paul.richter@latimes.com

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Copyright 2009 Los Angeles Times

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1 comment:

Connie L. Nash said...

Listening to real people in an all too real Middle East...watch for more posted in Comments here under this post" Begin by Listening"

Subject: [A in Palestine] Sophie's Choice
I am sitting in an internet cafe in Beirut trying to concentrate, but I just can't. There are hundreds of heartbreaking emails to read
through, each one worse than the last. The carnage did not stop with the so-called "ceasefire" (I use quotations because the slow massacre of starving an entire population of basic human necessities -- sufficient food, water, medical supplies, heat -- continues). Everyday on television we watch new bodies being dug out of the rubble. And now that a few international reporters and humanitarian workers have been allowed into Gaza, we hear more of the
stories that had previously been left untold.

I received the following letter written by my friend B a Jewish-American woman who founded the Middle East Children's Alliance, a great organization to contribute to if you can
(www.mecaforpeace.org). Her account turned my stomach: January 23, 2009 Dear A, I entered the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night with my friend and fellow activist Sharon Wallace after waiting ten hours at the Egypt/Gaza border. The destruction and trauma is even greater than I expected.

Out of all the devastation I have seen so far, there is one story in particular that I think the world needs to hear. I met a mother who was at home with her ten children when Israeli soldiers entered the house. The soldiers told her she had to choose five of her children to
"give as a gift to Israel." As she screamed in horror they repeated the demand and told her she could choose or they would choose for her.
Then these soldiers murdered five of her children in front of her. The concept of "Jewish morality" is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else.

To be continued soon...(Please also post your stories in this or other COMMENTS section on this blog.)