Obama's Mideast Envoy Tries to Talk Peace

Either way, it has further eroded Abbas' credibility at a time when even some moderate Palestinians are giving up hope on the two state promise. For them the election of President Obama is akin to the last roll of the dice, it's an atmosphere that inspires dangerously high expectations. For them, a cautious step by step approach by Mitchell simply won't do.

For veteran Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi, the Obama team "must get positively engaged, they must be involved in peace making, not just in peace negotiations. They must have the political will to stand up to Israeli violations, and they must produce results on the ground, otherwise the peace process will produce only negative results."

Clearly, the two sides view this "moment" in very different ways. The situation on both sides is fluid in the aftermath of the fighting and in the run-up to Israeli elections. Mitchell's task was to come and listen to the different voices many of whom openly admit this "moment" is more unstable than any they can remember.

The need for real progress here has never been more urgent, the conditions never more difficult.

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