Saturday, January 24, 2009

George Mitchell's Joke

But will it be on him?

The Secretary mentioned Northern Ireland. There, recently, long-time enemies came together to form a power-sharing government, to bring to an end the ancient conflict known as the “Troubles.” This was almost 800 years after Britain began its domination of Ireland, 86 years after the partition of Ireland, 38 years after the British army formally began its most recent mission in Ireland, 11 years after the peace talks began, and nine years after a peace agreement was signed. In the negotiations which led to that agreement, we had 700 days of failure and one day of success. For most of the time, progress was nonexistent or very slow. So I understand the feelings of those who may be discouraged about the Middle East.

As an aside, just recently, I spoke in Jerusalem and I mentioned the 800 years. And afterward, an elderly gentleman came up to me and he said, “Did you say 800 years?” And I said, “Yes, 800.” He repeated the number again – I repeated it again. He said, “Uh, such a recent argument. No wonder you settled it.” (Laughter.)

And by-the-by, where is that "Palestinian state" to be?:

The Secretary of State has just talked about our long-term objective, and the President himself has said that his Administration – and I quote – “Will make a sustained push, working with Israelis and Palestinians to achieve the goal of two states: a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state living [in ???] side by side in peace and security.”


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