Recently retired General James L. Jones is the fourth US general Washington has co-opted to the Israel-Palestinian peace effort in seven years
President Bush named him at the Annapolis Middle East conference Nov. 27, as liaison officer to accompany Israel-Palestinian negotiations on core issues between the two sides, to be wound up before the end of 2008.
He treads in the footsteps of peace mediator Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni in 2000, followed in 2005 by Ret. Gen. Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state, and Gen. Keith Dayton, Bush’s special coordinator, a year later. None made any headway towards resolving the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.
General Jimmy Jones takes over a task which many will have told him is stillborn. His record includes service in N. Iraq and Turkey and Bosnia-Herzgovina and Macedonia. The general, after serving as Commandant of the US Marines Corps, was named i Jan. 2003, commander of the US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
His lack of experience in the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East in general does not augur well for his prospects of achieving much in his new mission.