WASHINGTON – George Mitchell, the US special envoy to Mideast said Thursday that while the development of the West Bank's economy remains important, it cannot take precedent to the diplomatic route.
Mitchell, who held a conference call with the heads of various Jewish groups in the United States, refrained from answering questions regarding the political situation in Israel, saying he would not address the subject before President Shimon Peres' tasked one of the parties' leaders with forming the government.
Although leading candidate Benjamin Netanyahu was no mentioned by name, Mitchell's response was interpreted by those in attendance as hinting towards previous statements made by Netanyahu regarding the crucial role economic development would play in Palestinian society.
The special envoy also said that he will not predetermine any policy regarding the West Bank settlements, but noted that is was one of the issues Arab leaders focus on constantly.
Mitchell explained that the new US administration was currently reviewing its Middle East policies, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the issue of the settlements; adding that every aspect will be examined in order to facilitate a solution. The US, he added, was in a position to bring about a two-state solution, resulting in two nations, coexisting in peace.
Mitchell further said the Obama administration had not intention of pushing Israel to form a unity government, saying the administration will not try to affect the makeup of it Israeli counterpart in any way.