George Mitchell — fake peace envoy

“Senator Mitchell will … work to support the objectives that the President and I believe are critical and pressing in Gaza, to develop a program for humanitarian aid and eventual reconstruction,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on January 22, 2009, the day George Mitchell was named Special Envoy for Middle East Peace.

Since then a stream of political leaders have visited Gaza including: Senator John Kerry, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, US Congress members Brian Baird and Keith Ellison, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, the Quartet’s Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the Arab League Amer Mousa, and a European Parliamentary Delegation comprised of 55 MEPs and MPs.

So far, the closest Mitchell has come to Gaza is to visit the Kerem Shalom crossing where he participated in an Israeli PR stunt at the end of June.

When he left the Senate, Mitchell said he hoped to become baseball commissioner — he’d turned down an offer from President Clinton to become a Supreme Court justice. He went on to become Chairman of the Walt Disney Company.

After a year and a half as so-called Middle East peace envoy, Mitchell has accomplished less than nothing. He should do himself and the region a favor: salvage a bit of dignity and quit.

This weekend, Chris Patten, the British Conservative politician and former European Commissioner, became the latest high profile figure to do what George Mitchell can’t bring himself to do: visit Gaza.

On a visit to Gaza over the weekend, former EU commissioner, Chris Patten, has called for an end to the blockade of the Strip and for a reassessment of the ‘ridiculous’ policy of isolating Hamas.

At a press conference in the territory on Monday, he called for channels of dialogue with Hamas to be re-opened and stated that the siege of Gaza did not result in a moderate position but in an increase of tensions.

Patten called for the necessity of ending the illegal Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and pressed hard for an end the siege of the Gaza Strip, and the application of UN Resolution 1860. His visit coincides with the second visit of the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Affairs in the European Union, Catherine Ashton, to Gaza who also called on Israel not just to allow more goods into the sector but to fully open Gaza’s borders.

Patten said that as the biggest supporter of the Palestinian people and Israel’s largest economic partner, the EU should play a greater role in the Middle East.

He stated that many of the health problems suffered by residents of the sector were caused by the embargo, which prohibits the entry of medical supplies and prevents patients with certain conditions from travelling to receive medical treatment. Patten visited the director of operations for UNRWA in Gaza, John Ging, as well as several medical sector projects and was briefed on health conditions in the sector.

This is Patten’s third visit to Gaza. [Middle East Monitor]

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6 thoughts on “George Mitchell — fake peace envoy

  1. kagiso

    Without George Mitchell, the Northern Ireland peace deal may not have been reached, his intervention was crucial. He is a diplomat not a politician. However repugnant it may be to outside observers, it is a diplomats job to be discreet and not cause offence to the people he is negotiating with, even if those people are human beings so utterly disgusting as Ian Paisley, Gerry Adams or Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Once Mitchell had the confidence of Paisley and Adams, he was able to relay, in terms that did not cause offence, the veiled threats of Blair and Clinton, in particular Blairs threat to Paisley that no deal would mean a new and deeper Anglo-Irish agreement.

    At the moment everything is marking time for the US mid-terms. Once Obama has lost them, and is effectively a lame duck, he has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by strong-arming Netanyahu into a deal, with Mitchell having set up the groundwork.

  2. delia ruhe

    Isn’t Chris Patten the former governor of Hong Kong? At any rate, he seems to have surfaced since the UK election and has written interesting stuff. He’s a true Tory, not one of those rednecks and bible-thumpers who disgrace most Western conservative political parties these days. We used to have conservatives like Patten in Canada, until Harper and his Alberta wingnuts hijacked the Tory party. But I digresss ,,,

    Patten’s a guy who reads writing on walls, and he’s reading that the end of the status quo in the Middle East is imminent. He wants Britain on the right side of history, and he’s not afraid to speak his mind — Zionist lobby, be damned. He is fearless. And he’s someone who our North American politicians should watch — if they can lift their eyes long enough from their favourite activity of kissing Zionist ass.

    In short, keep your eyes on Patten.

  3. Joseph Partida

    … business as usual over here as the charade continues, just buying more time gaining more land and exterminating more indigenous people. Israel does not want peace, they like it just the way it is, and with the US backing them all the way, why should they. Will Obama become Nethenyahoo’s poodle? It is looking that way.

  4. David Marchesi

    Mr (Lord) Patten is chair of the Medical Aid to Palestine organisation, which does valuable work on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank. He is also an honourable manb who tells it as it is – unusual for “conservative” people, but a reflection of what is being lost in the English-speaking countries where few of the Right have the gits to tell it as it is; and, of course, few of the (new) Left ! I would advise any reader to go to the occupied Palestinian territories, or even just Jerusalem, and keep their eyes open. Stay a while, and you’ll see for yourselves the inhuman nature of the Israeli occupation. George Mitchell may or may not have been a catalyst of the Irish “peace settlement” – it is rash to assert that, simply on the assertions of the mainstream propagandists, who always prefer to look for a magical solution to a problems based thousand years of history. Israel is, of course, more than happy to pursue the charade of the “peace process” while gradually taking over the Palestinan territories , including East Jerusalem.

  5. Michael

    In Northern Ireland, it was in Britain’s interest to secure a peace agreement, and George Mitchell did a good job advancing that interest – which, happily, was also in the interests of everyone else.

    In the case of Israel, the usual response when faced with the threat of peace (such as the Arab peace initiative, or talks with Syria mediated by Turkey) is either to ignore it and hope it goes away, saying no more than a variation of the formula “The time is not yet ripe for peace”, or drive it off the news with something like the Cast Lead attack on Gaza. Peace is not in Israel’s interest, and George Mitchell is again serving the interests of the more powerful party, this time by pumping the bellows of the peace process smokescreen.

    Which reminds me of his work for the tobacco lobby. But that’s another story.

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