Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama's New Envoy, Mitchell, Asked to Talk to Ordinary People in Gaza

Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, photo uploaded on Flickr by mashget

Even though Israel did not allow journalists into Gaza during the recent incursion, the world was watching. Bloggers were posting photos of women and children murdered, schools blown to smitereens, and mayhem in the blood drenched streets.

Child in Gaza awaiting medical treatment, photo uploaded on Flickr by pink turtle 2

The video uploaded on YouTube of the doctor who called the Israeli journalist when his house was attacked put a human face on this war. It allowed people from around the world to see that Palestinians are ordinary people. Not all are extremists with a mission to destroy Israel.

Dr. Abuelaish lost three daughters and a niece asks why, photo uploaded by mashget

This incursion undoubtedly boosted extremists inside Gaza and in the rest of the Arab world. Extreme behavior in any situation is usually born out of feelings of injustice or unfair treatment.

In order to stop the extremists, we must openly discuss why they are angry. It is time to open up dialogue between both sides without fear of being labeled an anti-Semite.

Obama's new order to stop the all powerful stranglehold lobbyists have had on how government is run is an excellent beginning. AIPAC has always had a hold on decision making concerning the question of Palestine. Now, without their influence, maybe, just maybe, we will see real dialogue and possible diplomatic solution to this conflict.

Young woman protests in Paris to end war in Gaza, photo uploaded on Flickr by looking 4 poetry

And again, instead of being labeled an anti-Semite, we will be viewed as people or a government with a genuine concern for fair and just treatment for all people.

George Mitchell negotiated peace in Northern Ireland. Moreover, he worked with the Clinton Administration on issues concerning Palestine and Israel. His experience in the region will help expedite the process for real diplomacy and dialogue.

Here is an excerpt of an article filed by Stephanie Nebehay of Reuters yesterday:

War boosted extremists in Gaza, says U.N. official
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters)

John Ging, head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, called for new U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell to talk to ordinary people in Gaza as part of a "new track" in diplomacy.

Ging, who is Irish, welcomed Mitchell's appointment.

"An individual of his experience and ability coming now to this conflict gives me cause for more than hope, it actually gives me cause for optimism that we will move on to a new track where we will see real progress," he said.

"What we hope will happen is that the U.S. administration will listen to the people. There has to be a rebalancing of the focus," he said.

(Editing by Jonathan Lynn and Elizabeth Piper)