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."
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.
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