Mr. President: Send Bill Clinton as Mideast peace envoy

AP Smoke rises after an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City on Nov. 18, 2012. As Israelis and Palestinians continue … Continued


Smoke rises after an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City on Nov. 18, 2012.

As Israelis and Palestinians continue to write yet another violent script for the Middle Eastern version of the movie “Groundhog Day,” it is becoming quite clear that only a trusted outside negotiator can help bring a peaceful and political solution to the Middle East conflict which has dominated global foreign policy for the last few decades.

Since both sides continue to blame each other for the most recent violence engulfing the Holy Land, their ongoing pathology could ultimately result in a further destabilized Middle East. Time and time again, both Israel and Palestine have proven themselves wholly incapable of finding a peaceful political resolution to the Middle East conflict on their own.

Now that he has successfully won a second presidential term, President Obama now has the political capital to solidify a long-term foreign policy legacy by taking the lead in helping to bring both sides together to forge a lasting Middle East peace process.

President Obama should begin this process by appointing former president Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the Middle East and serve as chief negotiator to help end the fighting currently being waged in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

There are several reasons that Clinton would be a brilliant strategic choice as Mideast envoy and Obama’s chief negotiator. First of all, during his own presidential tenure, President Bill Clinton had personal experience in Israeli/Palestinian politics from his experience during the 1993 Oslo Accords and 2000 Camp David Summit. Even though neither of those meetings resulted in a final political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question, it would be hard to argue that any other American alive has more political experience dealing with both the Israelis and Palestinians than former President Bill Clinton.

Also from an American political vantage point, I also believe that selecting Clinton as a Middle East peace envoy would be endorsed by many Republicans as well, which was evidenced by recent statements made by former Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain.

During a recent interview with CBS News on the violence in Israel and Gaza, the senator also suggested this same idea by saying that, “I would find someone even as high-ranking, frankly, as former President Bill Clinton to go and be the negotiator [between the Israelis and Palestinians]…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,” continued Senator McCain during that same interview.

While both Israel and Palestine continue to point fingers at each other for starting this latest round of tragic violence, let us instead focus on the innocent civilian lives on both sides that are being lost because of their governments collective inability to shed their dinosaur pathologies to ensure a lasting peaceful tomorrow for future generations of young Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. President, now that you have won a second presidential term and have no more elections to worry about, you now possess the political capital to make a bold move to ensure a foreign policy legacy by being the American president who actually helped bring peace to the Holy Land.

As Americans, we should tell President Obama to begin that process by picking up the phone and asking Bill Clinton to be his Middle East peace envoy and chief negotiator to help end the fighting which has plagued the Holy Land for far too long.

Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of and author of “Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era

Related content from On Faith:

Deane: Jerusalem resident on watching TV: ‘I can barely do anything else’

Benjamin and Sekulow: The ‘unbearable lightness’ of voting – for a Palestinian state

Deane: Air raid sirens spoiling the peace of a Jerusalem Sabbath

  • henry6

    I faintly remember a nominee for US Ambassador to Egypt or Israel being asked at his confirmation hearing how he thought peace between the Jews and the Moslems could be established. He announced what they needed to do, was to sit down and discuss it in a spirit of Christian understanding. Bill is a Christian, I think?


    Don’t send anyone. Let them duke it out on their own. Maybe if both sides get bloodied up enough, they will sit down and talk peace on their own.

    Both sides never listen to “peace enovoys” anyway. It’s a waste of U.S. timew and money.

  • edbyronadams

    After all he did such a bang up job during his presidency with the peace process.


  • XVIIHailSkins

    This the same president who rocketed half of the pharmaceutical supplies in the Sudan, causing tens of thousands of deaths just so he could secure a much needed bump in his approval rating. Clinton is despicable, and the fact that he’s probably the most qualified foreign envoy in recent American history should tell you something.


    Is that the same guy who said that he was willing to accept Jews as U.S. citizens as long as they acknowledged Jesus as their Lord and Saviour?

Read More Articles

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.