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Stand In

Why Obama should make George W. Bush his Mideast envoy.

Gerald Herbert / AP

By Gregory Levey

On Sunday, George Mitchell, President Obama's Middle East envoy, arrived in Israel to confer with its leaders. Also visiting this week are Defense Secretary Robert Gates, national-security adviser James Jones, and Gulf States envoy Dennis Ross. It's a full-court press on the Israelis, and the American wish list is long. They want Israel to stop expanding settlements; to stop building Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem; and for hawks in the government to chill out while the U.S. is negotiating with Iran. And yet, odds are, they'll come back to Washington empty-handed, for reasons having to do as much with atmospherics as policy: Team Obama just doesn't have Israel's full trust.

But there is someone who does—someone who could use a job, someone who argued straightforwardly for a Palestinian state, and yet someone who has the implicit admiration and regard of Israel. President Obama needs a new envoy to the region who can get results—and George W. Bush is his man.

Words fail me.

I do have this, however, which sums up my thoughts on the matter pretty well ...

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