As Israel and Palestinian militants trade missile strikes across the border of the Gaza Strip, the death toll is rising. And the conflict is threatening to escalate. While President Obama has publicly supported Israel's right to defend itself after enduring months of rocket attacks, his administration is warning the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which is massing troops just outside the Palestinian territory, against launching a bloody ground invasion. Sen. John McCain on Sunday urged Obama to send a high-profile envoy, such as former president Bill Clinton, to push aggressively for a peace deal. Could Clinton be the key to coaxing both sides back from the brink of all-out war?
Clinton could achieve a breakthrough: "President Obama alone has the power to transform Israel's political landscape at this pivotal moment," says Gidon D. Remba at The Daily Beast. But he can "turbo-charge" peace efforts by putting a "heavyweight champion" like Clinton in his corner. With Israeli elections coming, the combined political heft of Obama and Clinton will strengthen Israeli moderates, and they're more inclined than Netanyahu to forge "a breakthrough in peace and security."
"Give Mideast peace one more chance"
No U.S. envoy can be a neutral intermediary: It's doubtful that Bill Clinton or any other American envoy can broker peace, Youssef Munayyer, executive director of The Jerusalem Fund, tells Politico. Time and again, the U.S. has shown it's incapable of giving the Palestinians a fair shake. If there's to be peace in our lifetime, Washington must shed "the bias that prevents it from being even-handed," or stop using its veto to prevent the United Nations Security Council from doing the job.
"Should Clinton negotiate peace in the Middle East?"
Actually, Clinton has shown he can be fair: Under Clinton's watch, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the "Declaration of Principles," says Robert A. Cohn at St. Louis Jewish Light, reaffirming the goal of the "two-state solution," with Israel and an Arab State of Palestine "living side-by-side in security and peace." Clinton made a "very generous offer" to the Palestinians, proving he's a fair-minded broker for peace. "If anybody could do it, Clinton can."
"Let’s try ‘waging peace’ with Bill Clinton as special envoy"