Israel dismisses talk of a Bill Clinton return to diplomacy

Recent report claims former US president will return to politics in region in one capacity or another, may be involved in peace process.

Bill Clinton kind of smiling 311 (photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Bill Clinton kind of smiling 311
(photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Sources in Jerusalem have discounted as “political gossip” a recent report in the US blogosphere about former US President Bill Clinton returning to Middle East diplomacy in one capacity or another.
Laura Rozen, at Politico, quoted Steven Clemons from the left-leaning New America Foundation as being convinced that Clinton is the man who can help Obama bring peace to the Middle East. “Bill Clinton is the only guy I can think of who is trusted and liked by all sides,” Clemons was quoted as saying.
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That’s true, one observer in Jerusalem quipped, if you discount the million Russian immigrants who Clinton said earlier this month were the obstacles to peace, and if you ignore all the stories over the years about how difficult a relationship Clinton had with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they worked together during Netanyahu’s first term in office.
Floating the idea now was seen by some in Jerusalem as possibly a pre-midterm election move. By suggesting a key role for Clinton, who has strong support in the American Jewish community, Democrats could be aiming to shore up now dwindling – yet traditionally massive – Jewish support for their party.
The idea left others thinking that if true, the move would be a sign that the Obama administration was “clutching for straws” at a time when the diplomatic process seems to have reached a dead end.
Clinton, meanwhile, will be the keynote speaker Wednesday at the Middle East Institute think tank. His topic: “Rethinking a Middle East in transition.”