When George Mitchell quietly resigned as special envoy for the Middle East, I was dismayed. I've always thought of him as a man of strong convictions but also as a pragmatist, a practitioner of politics as the art of compromise. Did he find the Israel-Palestine puzzle so intractable that he concluded that his efforts on behalf of the U.S. government were futile?
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, observed recently that while Israel continues to be successful economically, it is increasingly isolated internationally; indeed, it is regarded by most of the world as the chief obstacle to Middle East peace (Time, May 2). Although the Middle East is in a particularly difficult time, with Hamas and Hezbollah on Israel's borders, the future of the Jewish state is at stake.
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