Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell Briefs on Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 2, 2010

More:Middle East Peace Negotiations | White House Blog: Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell held a special briefing today at the State Department on the successful re-launch of direct negotiations among the United States, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. Special Envoy Mitchell said, "In the trilateral meeting, there was a long and productive discussion on a range of issues. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed their intent to approach these negotiations in good faith and with a seriousness of purpose. They also agreed that for these negotiations to succeed, they must be kept private and treated with the utmost sensitivity. So what I and they are able to disclose to you today and in the future will be limited, but I will now describe some of the key items that were addressed in the trilateral meeting.

"Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas condemned all forms of violence that target innocent civilians and pledged to work together to maintain security. They reiterated their common goal of two states for two peoples and to a solution to the conflict that resolves all issues, ends all claims, and establishes a viable state of Palestine alongside a secure state of Israel. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed that these negotiations can be completed within one year and that the aim of the negotiations is to resolve all core issues.

"The parties agreed that a logical next step would be to begin working on achieving a framework agreement for permanent status. The purpose of a framework agreement will be to establish the fundamental compromises necessary to enable them to flesh out and complete a comprehensive treaty that will end the conflict and establish a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The parties agreed that in their actions and statements they will work to create an atmosphere of trust that will be conducive to reaching a final agreement.

"They agreed to meet again on September 14 and 15 in the region and roughly two weeks thereafter -- every two weeks thereafter. Of course, continued interactions at other levels between the parties and also yet others involving the United States will take place between those meetings. In fact, a preparatory trilateral meeting to plan for that second meeting in the region has already begun at another location in this building and will continue here and in the region between now and September 14th, as is necessary.

"As both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have said, the United States pledges its full support to the parties in these talks. We will be an active and sustained partner throughout. We will put our full weight behind these negotiations and will stand by the parties as they make the difficult decisions necessary to secure a better future for their citizens."

A complete transcript of the briefing is available here.

Comments

Comments

Ashim C.
|
India
September 2, 2010

Ashim K.C. in India writes:

On the face of it an effort to end a conflict as complex as the one between Israel and Palestine - that too in a time bound manner- inspire high hopes but the declaration about the keeping the negotiations secret may prove to be a dampener. It must be reckoned that in this conflict emotions of both parties are involved and there are deeply ingrained perceptions about the position of USA on it. There is always also a technical as well as a political aspect of in the genesis of this conflict. The challenge would be how to find a political solution with disregarding the technical/legal issues without keeping the the people in loop. Like the report says there would be fundamental compromises needed. Ii is better to keep the negotiation open and allow people to express themselves at the cost of delays in a forum where other regional powers of middle east and Europe and Security Council members also participate to give the results greater semblance of legitimacy for popular acceptance of compromises eventually.

Ashim C.
|
India
September 3, 2010

Ashim K.C. in India writes:

On the face of it an effort to end a conflict as complex as the one between Israel and Palestine - that too in a time bound manner- inspires high hopes but the declaration about the keeping the negotiations secret may prove to be a dampener. It must be reckoned that in this conflict emotions of both parties are involved and there are deeply ingrained perceptions about the position of USA on it. There is always also a technical as well as a political aspect in the genesis of this conflict. The challenge would be how to find a political solution without disregarding the technical/legal issues and keeping the people in loop. Like the report says there would be fundamental compromises needed. It would have been better to keep the negotiation open and allow people to express themselves at the cost of even delays in a forum where other regional powers of middle east and Europe and Security Council members could also participate to give the results greater legitimacy for popular acceptance of compromises eventually.
(Being submitted again without typos.)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 3, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@Dipnote Bloggers;

The other day Sen. Mitchell mentioned that he had his house painted and remarked at how long they took prepping the house and that the paint itself went on suprisingly quick after that.

Well, I thought that was appropriate in describing the prep work done to get to these direct talks. And he was obviously an appreciative client.

But as a house painter of good prof. standing over 30 years and no accounts recievable, I'd like to offer him a fuller understanding of how we turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

See, it starts with an attitude born of the realization that we house painters of the world make everyone else's work look good, even the artist's work hanging on the walls after the job is done.

The fact of the matter is that we have to fix everyone else's screw-ups before we can apply the finish paint, and create the pleasing environment and space the client was hoping to achieve in his dwelling or workspace.

Lots of scraping, lots of sanding, filling of nail holes, caulking cracks, dealing with dry rot and no one ever sees all that work when we're done, because it's what you don't see that makes for a perfect paint job.

We seldom get the appreciation we deserve but on occasion a client will walk in and declare, "I never thought it could look so good."

And therein lies job satisfaction.

Well, I think the same holds true in diplomacy in a broad brush stroke.

All you FSO's and diplomats @ state may not appreciate the diplomatic experiences I've had atop a 24' extention ladder with just a sense of balance to count on for dear life.

( I've previously mentioned a little story about teaching a Persian prince how to say "please" from such a position and earn his respect), but the most challenging was a case of "Simmian Diplomacy".

I think Sen. Mitchell will appreciate this story, as a successful negotiation effort and what a thankless task it can be at times even so.

So I'm working on the Albuquerque Zoo's primate facility many years ago and they had a temp. mesh and plywood dividing wall separating us from the apes, and up where I was cutting paint in where the wall and ceiling meet 30 ft above the concrete there was only mesh.

So this orangutan climbs up this huge tree branch some idiot from the zoo propped in the corner of the cage against the dividing wall ...to check me out, and see what I'm doing, face to face, less than a foot away. Inspecting my work she sticks her index finger through the mesh and touches the fresh latex paint , then tastes it.

I don't think I've ever seen a more human look of pure disgust, like "yuck!" in my life.

My natural gut human reaction was to laugh, and I made the mistake of showing my teeth when I did. Which to an ape, is a sure sign of agression and a riot in the monkey cage ensued with all her buddies with me as their target of choice.

Now I had a job to get done and after riding the rails down that ladder real quick, I grabbed a few M&M's left in my lunch box and went back up to sooth the savage beasties. My boss thought I was nuts, because they were trying to tear the place apart, litterally.

They say no good deed goes unpunished, and the great ape-lady was just plucking the last M&M from my palm through the mesh when their keeper walked in and yelled up at me "What the hell are you doing with my monkeys?"

She didn't realize I was making peace. Everything was cool, the riot was over as quick as it had begun.

Like I said, we houspainters are often under- appreciated for what we do.

Goes with the job description.

Well I brought my young kids to the zoo a few years later and my oldest daughter said, "Hey dad, the monkey is trying to get your attention." and sure enough, there was that same orangutan holding out her hand, gesturing directly at me and locking eyes with mine, so I go buy a pack of M&M's, come back and toss the whole bag over the moat to her which she shared with her buddies. Younger daughter says to me, "Dad, you're not supposed to feed the monkeys." So I told her that it was ok, that we knew each other and explained to her how we met.

(chuckle)

If there's a STATE DEPT H&R person reading this I sure would like to know if I should include these true life diplomatic experiences in my resume, and if they will come in handy on the job?

See, I've had an education Georgetown grads. couldn't even compete with. And I know they don't offer this kind of extensive training at the Foreign Service institute.

Anyway, I hope Sen. Mitchell enjoys the perspective I've obtained in all of this in high places as much as I appreciate his, expressed in the video.

I hope you'll pass this on to him, thanks.

EJ

.

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