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Dennis Ross Resigns As Middle East Adviser

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After working for five US presidents, Dennis Ross has resigned his position as President Obama's chief Middle East adviser.

Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama, all arrived at the White House determined to recast the nation's role in finding a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Sometimes immediately, sometimes later, one man was involved in shaping how the US dealt with peace between Israel and the Palestinians. At first his role was small; but by the time he went to work for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, he had became the key player in the process.

That man is Dennis Ross, a non-lawyer, who has been called "Israel's lawyer" by former State Department official, Aaron David Miller.

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, and a former colleague of President Obama's at the University of Chicago, was asked by the Institute of Middle East Understanding (IMEU) for his reaction to Ross' departure. His response:

"Since the Reagan administration, Dennis Ross has played a crucial role in crafting Middle East policies that never served peace, which is today farther away than ever.

"His efforts, which contributed to the growth in the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied territories from under 200,000 in the 1980s to nearly 600,000 today, were marked by a litany of failures.

"It is long overdue for him and the bankrupt policies he represents to be shown the door."

Diana Buttu, former legal advisor to Palestinian negotiators and a current Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, told IMEU:

"Dennis Ross has done more to undermine the rights of Palestinians and set back their struggle for freedom and equality than any other American official."

Jim Lobe included this background information in his analysis of the Ross resignation story:



"One senior U.S. diplomat, Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, who took part in the Clinton-era negotiations, cited a number of anonymous officials who were critical of Ross's mediation in the 1990s in his book co-authored with Scott Lasensky, entitled "Negotiating Arab- Israeli Peace."

"'The perception was always that Dennis started from the Israeli bottom line, that he listened to what Israel wanted and then tried to sell it to the Arabs,' one Arab negotiator told them. ...He was never looked at ...as a trusted world figure or as an honest broker.'"

Ross (pictured above) is a political in-fighter, a skill he employed to land his final post in the Obama White House. 

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James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)
 
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