January 28th, 2009
10:53 AM ET
3 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. cnnnewser

    God Bless all of them.

    January 28, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. EC

    This is WHY he's President. President Obama has done more in his first week than any other President in history. All the naysayers can follow the Senior Republicans who are so "miserable with themselves" that all they do is create chaos and obstructions. Republicans for decades have been ALL TALK but NO SUBSTANCE. They talk a good game, but they NEVER do anything worth mentioning, except pointing the "blame" finger at everyone else but them. It's NO wonder they got their butts whooped on Nov. 4. You would think they've learned their lesson, but NO WAY, they just completely IGNORE the voice of the American Voters and continue to go down their repeated self-destructive path. Unbelievable.

    January 28, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. CHANGE.COM

    The tunnels wouldn't be there and no weapons would be smuggled had Israel not imposed a tight embargo on Gaza. Imagine living in such a situation when you can only move if Israel says so, have any form of commerce if Israel permits, can only get water and electricity when and if Israel deems so! Your hard-line position has in turn hardened Hamas and others whose goal is to destroy you so they can have access to these basic necessities. Can't you see that? Open the borders. Allow free commerce. Improve the daily lives of people by free movements, trade, etc, and Hamas would effectively be defanged.

    January 28, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Christa

    Ya know, If Hamas would just stop breaking treaties and stop killing Israelis there would be peace in that region. Every time Israel retaliates and kills Palestinians it is the Palestinians that are to blame. What is so difficult to understand about this?. The Palestinians should shut down Hamas, before Israel does, and save some of their own lives.

    January 28, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. listen

    God Bless Israel.

    January 28, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Mari

    After watching the 60 Minutes segment last Sunday on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I am dismayed and totally hopeless about EVER brokering peace or even a sustainable seize fire between those two!

    Israel is behaving very badly, inhumanely. I ask Israel, have you forgotten your history and what your people suffered during the Holocaust? WHY.... then Israel are you treating the Palestinians no better than the Nazis treated you?

    "Civility dies withe the death of dialogue." - Sr. Marianne Farrina

    January 28, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Dawn

    We need someone to speak to the Israelis and the Palistines about trying to get along. The Middle East has been a hot spot since day one. We all chanted Peace in the Middle East.

    January 28, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. CHANGE.COM

    US holds a lot of power here to try and get Israel behave. $10 million to Israel a day! Plus military hardware to test our weapons on poor Palestinians. Israel has a right to defend itself, but they have misused that right, truth be told! If the US withdraws a portion of that money, that will force Israel work for real peace.

    January 28, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. James Johnson

    It's refreshing to see Obama reach out to those who wish to destroy Israel and our way of life. It won't be long until we are hit with an attack much worse than 9-11. Keep the change.

    January 28, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Matt

    I hope he brought a glove with which to pimp-slap Israel for their apartheid and indiscriminate murder of Palestinian civilians.

    January 28, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. barbara campbell

    President Obama is certainly working very hard to fulfill his campaign promises. I can't believe how much he has accomplished in his first week in office.

    January 28, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. Dont blame me

    Good luck !!!!

    That region of the world needs it.

    January 28, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. LIBERAL FOR LIFE

    Well done!

    January 28, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Dont blame me

    To Matt.

    You are such and IDIOT.

    What would be your response if every day or once a week somebody would be lobbing RGP's or misiles into your home town?????

    Remember, things between Isreal and the Palestines were going relatively smoothly until Hamas took over.

    January 28, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Keith

    I hope Israel wipes the terrorists off the face of the planet. They have every right to defend themselves from terrorism. And that is exactly what they are doing – defending themselves.

    If the cowardly terrorists wouldn't set up camp inside neighborhoods, the innocent people wouldn't die. I'm sorry they are caught in the middle, but the terrorists must be stopped.

    January 28, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Maybe common sense, along with the cherry blossoms, will break out in Washington this spring. It would be nice to think so.

    For way too long, American mid-east foreign policy has been devised by Israel for the benefit of Israel. It's about time we took control of that policy ourselves, including, first and foremost,consideration of our interests. That entails fair and honest consideration of everyone's interests–Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Saudi, Muslim in general, as well as, due, proportionate, Israeli. Basing our policies only on Israeli interests has been a disaster for sixty years.

    January 28, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. ChuckTX

    Matt, why don't you go there and tell them how you feel.. Guess who would get slapped.. ;-)

    January 28, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Ohio for Change

    He wont Matt...if you say anything that comes even close to balanced in this country you are labeled Anti-Semitic...look what they did to Carter for making a few balanced comments about the situation.

    January 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Jackie

    What is Hillary doing? I thought that was her job?

    January 28, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Tony in Maine

    George Mitchell may have been partisan as the Majority Leader, but he's too smart to take sides as a mediator. He brought a truce in Northern Ireland, I think he can do the same in the Middle East if Israeli and Arab lobbies will just STFU.

    January 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. lizz

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

    January 28, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. proud american

    Barack and Hillary make a cute couple...I'm glad they are getting along and getting to the business of our nation :)

    January 28, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. joe blow

    who cares what happens to isreal 99% of the worlds problems can be traced to them

    January 28, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    @Matt,

    I am not quite sure where you are getting your news from but, Hamas started this mess and since the cease fire are attempting to re-arm through tunnels. If any body deserves a good ole pimp slap it would be those who brought rocks to the gun fighter they started and are now whining about getting their teeth kicked in! The cowards have fired rockets in the midst of a cilvilian population! Hamas has vowed to wipe out Israel! What part of this is hard for you to understand?

    January 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. Angie in Pa

    Good luck to them And God bless them!

    January 28, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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