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George Mitchell Praises Kerry: Speech Reflects 'Strong Personal Commitment'

Image: George Mitchell Praises Kerry: Speech Reflects 'Strong Personal Commitment'

George Mitchell (Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 06:18 PM

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell endorsed Secretary of State John Kerry's speech attacking Israel on Wednesday, saying "it's important that the two-state solution be preserved."

"He spent a great deal of time and effort there," Mitchell, a Maine Democrat who once served as President Barack Obama's special Mideast envoy, told Pamela Brown on CNN. "He has a strong personal commitment.

"I commend him for that.

"His speech was essentially a defense of the two-state solution — which he sees as slipping away, support declining for it, and which he believes is the only viable solution to the conflict."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attack on Kerry's speech was "entirely predictable," Mitchell said, and "pretty-much what anyone would have expected him to say.

"My hope now is that the prime minister will refocus away from making this the issue in dealing with the international community, because Israel is being increasingly isolated because of this issue, and the manner which it's being handled.

"I hope that it's behind them and that they'll move to re-engage and broaden their base of support in the European and other communities that are natural supporters."

However, Mitchell cautioned support for a two-state solution is not universal within the Israeli and Palestinian communities themselves.

"There's opposition to any two-state solution by many people in Israel, including many prominent members of Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet," he told Brown. "They are determined — and they say publicly that there will never be a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

"Also, Palestinian society is divided between the Palestinian Authority, which accepts Israel's existence, which opposes violence against Israel and which provides a great service to Israel in suppressing terrorism activities within the West Bank.

"But there is internal disagreement with Hamas, which controls Gaza, which does not agree with the Palestinian Authority on those decisions with respect to Israel.

"Both societies are divided."

Mitchell's new book is "A Path to Peace: A Brief History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and a Way Forward in the Middle East" with Alon Sachar.

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Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell endorsed Secretary of State John Kerry's speech attacking Israel on Wednesday, saying "it's important that the two-state solution be preserved."
George Mitchell, John Kerry, speech, two-state
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2016-18-28
Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 06:18 PM
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