November 18th, 2012
07:57 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain suggests Bill Clinton as Middle East peace negotiator

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain suggested Sunday that former President Bill Clinton once again try his hand at forging peace between the Israelis and Palestinians as another day of violence lit up the sky on the border between Israel and Gaza.

Israeli Defense Forces aircraft struck targets in Gaza on Sunday, including some where they said the militant group Hamas was launching rockets. Rockets from Hamas streamed toward cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv.

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McCain spoke in an interview on CBS, saying the U.S. should be "as heavily involved as they possibly can" in the region.

"I would find someone even as high-ranking, frankly, as former President Bill Clinton to go and be the negotiator," McCain said.

"I think that it's very important that we recognize that the United States of America has got to push as hard as we can to resolve this Israeli-Palestinian issue. And so many events hinge on making that process go forward."

Clinton has hands-on experience with peace negotiation in the region, having convened leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority at Camp David when he was president. His wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has been in touch with her counterparts in the area since the violence escalated earlier in the week.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday afternoon he would head to the region and "appeal personally for ending the violence." French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day, and an Israeli representative was in Egypt earlier in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful settlement.

The violence puts millions of people at risk in Israel and Gaza, and should Israeli forces staging along the border launch a ground invasion of Gaza, the violence in the densely populated Gaza Strip would increase.

President Barack Obama said Sunday that the U.S. is "fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself from missiles landing on people's homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians."

On CNN's "State of the Union," Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, said the situation would be akin to his state launching an attack on Washington.

"Hopefully you could take advantage of this negative situation and start talking about peace. History shows that is unlikely at this point," Ruppersberger said.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R- Missouri, said he suspected Iran was involved and said he found Obama's words on the violence "helpful."

"His statements yesterday I thought they were helpful," Blunt said. "They are in line with what the congressman and I have said here today, and I hope we're aggressively pursuing that idea that Israel has a right to protect itself. But people all over the world have a real interest in trying to stop this violence from being initiated by Hamas and Gaza."

Filed under: John McCain • President Clinton
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. aaron

    McKain should have recommended his foreign policy expert Palin. He unleashed her on the American public so he should have at least have the decency to send her a war zone.

    November 18, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. onlyfacts

    Thanks John, by skipping over GW and Cheney you admitted what a failure these two clowns were. Imagine sending our ex President and Vice-President of 8 years to negotiate peace. It is unimaginable! And that says it all!

    November 18, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. Now you figure it out?

    Remember the 47% speech that Mitt gave and his take on the conflict there? He said as president he would just "kick it down the road" for the next president to take care of. I wonder if that had anything to do with him promising Netanyahu that if Isreal decided to attack the palistinians that he would fully support it and not have the United States get involved?
    No matter what, I find it interesting that now, a supporter of Mitts, John McCain who said nothing about that comment, is now telling us that we need to be using our top diplomats to bring peace... wonder why he didn't challange Mitt on his comments?

    November 18, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. t

    McCain makes sense.........even thought he picked that dope from Alaska.

    November 18, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    Why not McCainsane do himself????? Idiot. Let them deal by themselves. Obama is doing excellent on Israel. All this times, Israel was playing drama. Israel is biggest BS. True.

    November 18, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    McCain might have a point. Clinton has tried to do something and got a little something done. The question is will both sides actually listen to him and do as he asked. I can't see the Arabs really doing much of what is agreed to because they don't see the need for peace at this point.

    November 18, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  7. maf

    Wow, a sensible statement from John McCain. Who knew???
    With Hilary likely to move out of the State department, the Clinton's can continue their high profile commitment to the US and President Bill is just the statesman to do it!!

    November 18, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. amajorpain

    So how do you get to be a politician anyway? Is there a beauty contest involved? ...can't be on brains, that's for sure.

    November 18, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. timupham

    John McCain is right, Bill Clinton should be the Middle East peace negotiator. When he was President he came so close with the Camp David Accords in 2000, but the negotiations collapsed. Clinton would be able to go back and analyze the reasons, modify them, and be the strong international mediator needed to say "yes this can happen, or no this cannot happen." Because that is what will be needed to formulate an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.

    November 18, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. Dan5404

    Clinton is an obvious choice, having brokered the closest thing to a settlement of this historic conflict once before. However, the Mideast has become more militant in many of those countries, and it's unlikely Egypt will be a force for oeace, except in rhetoric forced by international pressure. His chance of success now is quite slim, despite his diplomatic skills.

    November 18, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. helenecha

    Why him not her? I’m quite sure anyway that Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s genius proved to be more than he could bear.

    November 18, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  12. just sayin

    isn't that what his wife is supposed to be doing? hillary clinton has gone into hiding out of the country since the benghazi massacre. she was the person responsible for providing those people the security they were requesting. she now has blood on her hands.

    November 18, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  13. mark

    I wonder if he will have a security detail like the former ambassador.

    November 18, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  14. timupham

    John McCain is right, Bill Clinton should be the Middle East peace negotiator. As President, he came so close with the Camp David Accords of 2000, but they collapsed. He would be able to go back, and analyze their failure, and be able to modify them. A strong international mediator is needed, to definitely say "yes this can be done or no this cannot be done," and Bill Clinton offers the only realistic hope we have to formulate an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty.

    November 18, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. RogueRobots

    Whenever there are serious problems in the world and wherever there is a huge mess to clean up, who do the Republicans call for help? Why a Democrat of course!

    November 18, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  16. Hugh Mann

    MCCain should have quit while he still had a head....

    November 19, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  17. Insight Law Firm

    Bill Clinton needs to leave McCain dangling. Just state to the press that it is the President who makes those decisions and not one of the two Senators from Arizona. Put McCain right in his irrelevant place and shun any of his desperate attempts to be relevant in his final days.

    He was not elected President, and only feels he has a place in foreign affairs because he is a meddler, and his big dream is to have ANYTHING to do with foreign policy. Well, McCain, we hired a guy for that job, and passed on you. However, you do have a job serving the people of Arizona and you should worry about that. THAT is your only mandate from any voters.

    November 19, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  18. reaperfearer

    Hey McCain – no one asked you. You're incapable of leading this country. Please zip it.

    November 19, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  19. Jenny Smith

    As usual, McCain has gotten it exactly wrong. We should not be highly involved in the Middle East. We should be uninvolved, permanently. Those Semitic tribes, whether they are Jews or Muslims in regard to religion, are never going to negotiate for a permanent peace, especially not with a US moderator. Our politicians should not, as Romney and McCain did, accept Israeli money for their campaigns and should not be afraid of losing money from Americans with Middle East agendas. They should just not accept the money.

    Clinton was a terrific president and a wise foreign policy wonk. His health is not such that he should negotiate in a situation where the parties involved will only be happy as long as they are enemies. Let Clinton's work be not a Sisyphean challenge. Send Romney instead. He's used to failure.

    November 19, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Gee John , why not ask GW Bush ?

    He needs a job , and he's so respected in the region ?

    The best person for the job would be Jimmy Carter , not Clinton .

    November 19, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  21. Kate65

    Bless Senator McCain's heart, he can see past party politics and go with whom he thinks would do the best job as peace envoy. I may not have voted for him, but I have so much respect for the man.

    November 19, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  22. Jack

    Does McCain know Arizona has a Curfew?

    November 19, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |

    Bill Clinton is NOT our elected POTUS nor the Executive Branch's chosen Secretary of State. - CNN should remind the people who re-elected Obama of this fact.

    November 19, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |

    America chose the people they trusted MOST to handle domestic and international affairs - people of the past are just that: in the past. Dem-craps criticize Bush and praise Bill Clinton - the good, bad and ugly of the past cannot help us today. America elected the people they wanted. If these people prove incomptent then remove them. The media have enabled this incompetent and dangerous administration long enough. Can you imagine someone like Susan Rice trying to broker mideast peace? What a deeper belly laugh joke.

    November 19, 2012 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  25. JD

    McCain is suggesting Former President Clinton because no one on the GOP side could do it. Plain and simple. Why didn't he suggest Romney that he endorsed? Or Bush? They don't have anyone that has the qualifications!

    November 19, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
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