January 28th, 2009
10:53 AM ET
9 months ago

Obama envoy arrives for talks with Israelis

George Mitchell, right, meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama on Monday.
George Mitchell, right, meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama on Monday.

JERUSALEM (CNN) – President Obama's newly appointed envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, arrived in Israel on Wednesday as part of a new U.S. effort to work toward a broader peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel's Foreign Ministry confirmed Mitchell arrived in Tel Aviv, and will head to Jerusalem shortly.

Watch the Muslim world react to Obama

Hours before his arrival, Israeli missiles struck several smuggling tunnels along Gaza's southern border with Egypt in response to the killing of an Israeli soldier a day earlier near the Kissufim crossing, the Israeli military said.

One of Israel's key demands in peace talks has been international help shutting down tunnels into Gaza that Israel says Hamas fighters use to smuggle weapons into the territory. Hamas - which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel - controls Gaza.

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soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Steel Curtain

    Dear Proud American:

    Are you 14?

    January 28, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Tracy M.

    The world needs to put a lot of pressure on both sides to stop this slaughter. They're acting like children and need to be treated like children: "I don't care who started it, or what it's about, just stop right now." THEN you use your diplomacy to fix the underlying problem. First one to start hitting again loses their cell phone. Uh, I mean U.S. support.

    January 28, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Sam The Plumber

    Why can't the government give tax paying people , say $150.000. to boost the economy. alot of people could pay alot of credit card debt off , buy new cars ,buy homes ,repair homes, pay for college the list goes on. If people had those funds that would boost the economy giveing the rich to make richer does not make since. this makes since to me....

    January 28, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Fellow American

    I hope Mitchell tells the Israelis that we will henceforth withhold giving them any more aid (the U.S. gives Israel $8 million a day) until they agree to pull back to the 1967 borders and allow Palestine to become a real country.

    I doubt he will, however. That would be too logical.

    January 28, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Sam The Plumber

    Give the people a bailout if all tax paying Americans had $150,000.00 this would boost the economy...

    January 28, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. carlo

    I think its unfair to blame the Israelis for this. Palestinians and a few other militant groups make it a habit of firing into other territory and then hiding in the same areas as innocent civilians, using them as bullet-proof vests. When the civilians are killed, they parade them on TV to show the world the atrocities perpetrated on them. I've never understood how people could vote for a group like Hamas who does this to their own people. It's disgusting.

    January 28, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Luke Brown

    Two weeks ago we'd be looking at a picture of Condi, GW Bush, and Cheney. Now we are looking at Hillary, Barack, and George Mitchell in those chairs.

    There is a God!!!

    January 28, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Sam The Plumber

    Saving our money and making money Huhh how about the government Quit wasteing money like having buildings full of military waste like shown on 60 minutes.. also like here in Washington State a entire neighborhood of houses not being used they have been sitting there for years not being used fix them up for low income families, there is alot of waste with the Government I hope and prey the New President will investigate this type of waste If its in Wa. state then I sure its everywhere....

    January 28, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. karen-Phoenix

    President Obama is working 24/7 and I can see Peace and Prosperity around the corner!!! God, thank you for send us this man with the strange name!!!!

    January 28, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. debra

    They Palistinians deserve what they get. They shouldn't throw stones unless they expect to get stones thrown back at them. I have never seen a people that were more in favor of war that the people in gaza. Why else would they let hamas lead them. Hamas is using them as a pawn and doesn't care if they are destroyed or not. They are provoking the Israelis and they know it. hamas is at fault here.

    January 28, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Dan, TX

    I am also impressed by Obama. He is moving the American people's agenda forward.

    January 28, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. David

    I don't remember hearing about envoy for anything during the past 8 years this must be something new. I hope that this will help to bring peace to area that could use some.

    January 28, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. No Hillary = No Obama

    At least we have Hillary, a seasoned and experienced politician, to offset Obama's naivete and ego centric persona.

    January 28, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. dronepop

    "Why can't these people stop fighting and live peacefully?"

    Like who, the U.S.? And besides, the reasons are are not only decades in the making, but hundreds of years. It's not as simple as convincing them to "live peacefully", there are complexities that involve the psyche of cultures we don't fully relate to.

    The American government will not be the sole solution to any conflict in the region, and it's arrogant to think that we will. Still, I think the first step is to let Israel know that we won't condone or support over-reactions to terrorist threats from the Palestinians. In other words, they've got to stop using a crane to crush flies, or else there will be consequences.

    January 28, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Sharon

    My two bad dreams which Obama accepted to send the money which is from American citizens pay tax for ABORTION which is murder to some Africa countries came truth within just three days after the inauguration on Jan. 20. The other bad dream was that Obama said
    that "I have a Muslim family and I'd lived in Muslim country" in his first interview with Arab main stream media. Also Obama said that "we are
    a nation Christian, Muslim, Jews and Hindu..." However, American has Christian of 85%, Jewish of 2%, and Muslim of 0.5%.... Obama tends to focus on Muslims, Middle East, and Arab. I am a Christian,
    but I've strongly standed with Israel as Bush and Condi had so done

    January 28, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. suzy

    WE LOVE YOU HILLARY!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    If anyone can work something out, George Mitchell can.

    Tried and true, a great choice, Obama.

    January 28, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. dennis galloway

    I hope now that Hillary Clinton is in the Federal Government, appointed and not elected, that she can stay clear of the influence of Jewish financial support when it comes to dealing with Israel. The Jewish Daily Forward (1/26/07) has the following quote "Clinton will get most of the Jewish community’s money, “first, because she’s going to receive the lion’s share of all [Democratic] political money, and second, because she and her husband are enormously popular with the Jewish community,” said Democratic strategist Steve Rabinowitz, a Clinton supporter.

    January 28, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Interesting to note that yesterday Obama's interview on Arab TV said that he once lived in the largest muslim country and spoke other languages. How come the media has missed out on this very important detail. I know former Sec of State Condi Rice spoke Russian fluently. Madam Albright spoke five languages. Australian PM spoke fluent mandarin. What is Obama thinking that Senator Mitchell will greet the middle east with "top of the morning to you"?. Can someone from the media ask Obama what other language can he speak? To even come close to understanding their culture in the middle east, it would be advisable to learn how to speak their language first if you want to gain some respect. Try Farsi. Idiots.

    January 28, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. daniel cabrera

    I do not believe this is going to end right,...I sense DECEPTION.

    sincerely,
    Daniel Cabrera
    Merrillville, Indiana

    January 28, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Gerry In Toronto

    Too bad Joe, The Plumber didn't go to Israel along with Mitchell. At least we'd have seen a comedy.

    January 28, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. MH

    For many years, the United States has publically taken a role as a proxy for the Israel government, rather than mediating as a fair and balanced partner. This has allowed the extremist fringe in the Islamic world to present a rallying point to recruit terrorists to their cause. If we want to affect change to alter the Middle East to a more moderate style, we have to stop allowing AIPAC to direct our public policy regarding the Palestinians. Desperate people do desperate things, and we have to put hope into the Palestinian's lives just as you did for America during your campaign. Only this will stop attacks on Israel in the long run, and I think it is in Israel's best interest also to live in peace with their neighbors.

    January 28, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Matt

    @ No Hillary = No Obama

    Your math is still off.

    January 28, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Simmy

    Best of success to you Envoy Mitchell. Look at Hillary over there – Limelight stealer.

    January 28, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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