End Times News Update
Sign: Covenant With Many (Mideast peace news)
Scripture: Daniel 9:27
News Source: AlertNet/Reuters
McCain wants Bill Clinton for Mideast peace role
08 Nov 2011 23:32
Source: reuters // Reuters
(For other news from Reuters Washington Summit, click on
* McCain: Clinton would bring clout to Middle East talks
* Says U.S.-Israeli relations deteriorated under Obama
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Republican Senator John McCain has some
advice for President Barack Obama to help energize stalled Middle East
peacemaking: Put former President Bill Clinton in charge.
Democrat Bill Clinton, husband of Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, is always “the smartest guy in the room” and so would he be
in a roomful of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, McCain told the
Reuters Washington summit on Tuesday.
The Republican presidential nominee in 2008 who lost to Obama, McCain
said Clinton had credibility with both Israelis and Palestinians and
had come the closest of anyone to producing peace.
That was an apparent reference to the 2000 Camp David talks between
then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, the late
head of the Palestinian Authority.
“I believe that the president should call in the one person who has a
chance of negotiating, having both sides negotiate with good faith,
and that’s one Bill Clinton,” McCain said.
“I would ask him to take on the role of the president’s special envoy,
mediator, potentate, whatever you want to call it because he’s the
person that came the closest and he’s the person that has the most
credibility,” McCain told Reuters.
McCain’s suggestion was rare praise from a Republican for a Democrat
in Washington these days and came as Obama was having a not especially
stellar day on the Middle East front, at least not so far as U.S. ally
Israel was concerned.
It emerged on Tuesday that Obama apparently failed to defend Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when French President Nicolas
Sarkozy branded him a “liar” in a private conversation that was
overheard by journalists.
McCain said that Obama’s rejoinder to Sarkozy — “I have to deal with
him even more often than you” — reflected the “deterioration” in
U.S.-Israeli relations since Obama had become president.
QUARTET ENVOYS TO MEET SIDES SEPARATELY
“There has not been one bit of progress” in the Middle East, certainly
not on the Israeli-Palestinian front, since Obama was elected, McCain
An Obama administration effort to broker direct peace negotiations
fell apart after it was launched last year, and the United States has
had little success in bringing the two sides back to the table.
With both sides at a standoff, Obama’s Middle East envoy, George
Mitchell, resigned earlier this year. McCain said Obama’s best chance
to turn the situation around now would be to bring in Clinton.
“He (Clinton) has the respect, he has the clout” and the parties would
fear upsetting him, McCain said. “And he knows the issue better than
There is already a Middle East envoy for a group known as the Quartet,
a body comprising the United States, the European Union, Russia and
the United Nations: former British prime minister Tony Blair.
“I’ve watched Tony Blair try to make progress,” McCain said. But
Blair, in seeking to broker new talks, has run into some of the same
problems that bedeviled Mitchell’s efforts.
Netanyahu says he wants talks now, but the Palestinians say the
Israelis must halt all building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank
before they return to the table, and that is something Netanyahu’s
government says it will not do.
Quartet envoys will try again to jump start peace moves on Nov. 14,
meeting separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials in
Jerusalem, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday. (Additional
reporting by the Reuters Summit Team; editing by Jackie Frank)