While the news of U.S. President Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize gained prominence, his special Middle East envoy, George Mitchell was toiling hard to rekindle stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
The U.S. special envoy met Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday for two hours and the PMO released a statement saying that the talks were “effective and constructive”, without giving any details. The two have agreed to meet again in the next few days.
Mr. Mitchell later Friday met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the West Bank town of Ramallah, who emphasised for a full Israeli settlement freeze.
The U.S. envoy told reporters talks would continue at a lower level for the time being to find out an effective solution.
“We invited the two sides to send their representatives to Washington in the very near future to continue our discussions,” he said.
At the beginning of his term Mr. Obama pushed for the Mideast peace talks, including an unequivocal call for Israel to stop settlement activities in the West Bank, things have failed to move ahead.
Israel’s right-wing government’s refusal to freeze settlement construction and Palestinian refusal to resume peace talks without that freeze and widespread predictions of failure have overshadowed Mr. Mitchell’s meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
The popularity of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also been waning amid public protests against him as he decided not to press war crimes charges against Israel over the Gaza fighting earlier this year and under the current situation it is unlikely that he will tone down his demand.