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Pres. Bill Clinton to Mediate Release of Gilad Shalit?

July 11, 2010

This was in Israel’s Haaretz today but it has not been confirmed by anybody:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked former U.S. president Bill Clinton to help mediate the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported Sunday.

During his recent visit to Washington, Netanyahu met with the former U.S. leader and proposed that the latter visit Gaza and negotiate with senior Hamas officials in efforts to finalize a prisoner exchange deal that would see hundreds of Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails in exchange for Shalit.

Until there is a confirmation by Clinton’s people, I wouldn’t consider this written in stone. Or sand for that matter. But I thought it was interesting.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. discourseincsharpminor permalink
    July 11, 2010 9:35 am

    If this is actually true, it almost makes me wonder if Bill is thinking of running for some office or another.

  2. July 11, 2010 9:40 am

    I don’t think so discourse- he’s an elder statesman at this point and once you are a POTUS, pretty much everything else (elected office-wise) probably pales in comparison. I think he can actually do a lot more good as a former POTUS than as someone in elected office. Look at Washington these days- a bunch of brats that can’t get anything done and all they are worried about is their next election. He’s got the freedom to do and say what he wants.

    The one thing I will say is that if this story is true, it sounds very different than the N. Korea situation because Kim Jong-Il apparently had requested Clinton come to N. Korea and so it sounded like everyone knew ahead of time that his trip would be successful. With Hamas, it doesn’t sound that way at all- this is Bibi’s request and thus there is a lot more uncertainty involved- even if Bill gets involved it could a) play into Hamas’ PR campaign or it could ultimately be unsuccessful. I’m not saying it’s not a good idea for him to get involved because I think if anyone could negotiate with Hamas it would be him, but just that it’s a very different ballgame than with N. Korea.

    • discourseincsharpminor permalink
      July 11, 2010 10:13 am

      I don’t think he’d run for anything either, but it’s just odd that he’s racking up all this good press while the current White House resident hasn’t been having much luck with anything he touches recently.
      North Korea had everything to gain by simply proving that, if they called, somebody in the US would pick up the phone. Hamas is a whole other animal and there are a lot more personal risks involved with heading over there. I think he’s a great negotiator and if it’s possible to get this guy released, he’d get it done. I also think that there is no better way to get the US’ attention than by getting ahold of one of their best-known figures who just happens to be married to their highest foreign policy official. If this is confirmed, I think there is a greater chance of success than we think because I’m not sure the administration would take this kind of risk otherwise. I’m sure this type of thing needs government clearance and I don’t think they’d give it if they weren’t sure it was worth the personal and political heat they’ll most definitely take over it.

  3. July 11, 2010 11:54 am

    I will be quite surprised if President Clinton agrees to do this. As you all are commenting, this is enormously different in many critical ways from the situation in North Korea. I would think this has more potential to blow up on Pres Clinton than to be successful. And what is success? In Israeli government’s view, I suppose it would be viewed as Shalit’s release without conceding more than they are prepared to. But what would be viewed as success by Hamas, the Palestinian people, or internationally?

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