It's Hillary Time

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Aaron David Miller on the one person who might be able to make America's Middle East efforts work:

Let's be clear again: Fixing the bureaucracies won't overcome the huge challenges standing in the way of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. But if it's to be fixed (and even if it can't), there has to be a change. Somebody -- the secretary of state -- has to take charge. And there's no doubt she is capable of doing it.

If, as it appears, the administration is going for the endgame on the big issues -- proposals to bridge the gaps between the parties or even a U.S. plan -- then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to identify and fight for a strategy that reflects the needs of both Israelis and Palestinians, and get the president not just to allow her to take the lead, but to watch her back at home and abroad. Indeed, if this gets to another summit (and it might) Obama himself will have to do the heavy lifting.

FWIW, I do tend to think that Hillary Clinton has been put on earth in order to negotiate this issue to a successful conclusion. She has the will, the intelligence, the understanding and the prestige to make this happen -- if it is going to happen at all. Opportunities are, in fact, presenting themselves at this moment, and it would be a shame to see Hillary's talents go to waste on lesser projects. And, by the way, I don't believe that solving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute fixes America's problems in the Middle East, but I do believe that it's an important enough issue in its own right to warrant most of Hillary's attention. 

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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