George Mitchell's return to duty as Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, said Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post, "is a reminder that much of what the new administration is facing in the region isn't new—and neither is the initial strategy that Obama has adopted."

Obama learned one thing from the Clinton and Bush administrations' failed "final-year" peace pushes, said USA Today in an editorial. Every modern president gets embroiled in the conflict between Israel and Palestine eventually, so it's best to plunge in at the outset. And Mitchell is an "honest broker" with experience, so picking him is a good start.

In many ways the situation is more difficult than it was in 2001, said The New York Times in an editorial, when former senator Mitchell produced a report on a failed Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire for then-president Bill Clinton. Hamas, now in control of Gaza, "shows no interest in making peace with Israel." So Mitchell faces an "unenviable" job, but it's an essential one.