The Times story, Roger notes, squashed Ross totally, making him out to be an impediment, and revealing inadvertently that Ross was better than many expected him to be. Just tonight my wife and I talked with one noted observer who commented that he thought Ross had no integrity; that he ought to resign after Obama gave his recent speech. Neither that person nor I had read the story until I returned to my hotel and saw Roger’s blog.
But another journalist told us that she had spoken with an Israeli source with solid contacts in the Israeli government. That source told her, she said, that George Mitchell was asked to resign because he had wanted the United States to essentially go all the way and advocate an open pro-Palestinian policy, including instituting sanctions against the Israeli government unless it gave way and agreed to demands of the Abbas government in the West Bank. The source told her that Obama would not go along with that, and as a result, Mitchell felt his role was over and his resignation was asked for.
What really happened between Ross, Mitchell, and Obama will certainly come out eventually. Perhaps Dennis Ross, now compromised by the NYT story and obviously frustrated at Obama’s direction in policy, might himself soon feel compelled to resign, or perhaps also be forced out by the request of the president.
At any rate, it promises to be a highly charged AIPAC policy conference. My report on the president’s speech and reaction to it will be filed tomorrow morning.