Mitchell Likely to Be US Mideast Envoy

Ad Feedback - WASHINGTON, DC - Israel expects to receive confirmation soon on the appointment of former Democratic Senator George Mitchell as the US Middle East envoy.

Mitchell, 75, who served as former President Bill Clinton's special envoy to Northern Ireland, authored a report on the events leading up to the second intifada (armed Palestinian uprising), sometimes referred to as the al-Aksa intifada, which took place from 2000 to 2004.

The report alleged that then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount fueled the intifada, though it was later revealed that the Palestinian Authority (PA), under the late chairman Yasser Arafat, had planned the uprising before Sharon's visit.

Mitchell's report called for a complete cessation of all violence as a prerequisite to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which some analysts felt put Palestinian terror attacks on an equal footing with the IDF's (Israel Defense Forces) counter-terrorism operations.

The report also called on the PA to try harder to prevent terror attacks, while admonishing Israel to limit its use of "deadly force."

Mitchell's report, which demanded a freeze on all "settlement activity," became the basis for the U.S.-backed Road Map for peace plan.

Other prospective nominees for the post of US Middle East envoy include Richard Haass, who served in the State Department under the first President George Bush; Daniel Kurtzer, former US ambassador to Israel; and Dennis Ross, who served previously as the Mideast envoy.

Following the confirmation of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, expected on Wednesday, the State Department will likely announce whether one envoy will serve for all Middle East affairs or whether a separate envoy will be appointed to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Reuters, YNet news

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