The special American envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, plans to set up an office in Jerusalem and to regularly staff it with diplomats to advance talks between Israel and the Palestinians, according to the Israeli security establishment.

A source in the Defense Minister’s Bureau told the Israeli media:

“We have received unconfirmed reports from some of Mr. George Mitchell’s people that he plans to open an office in Jerusalem. This is of great political significance. He is signaling [to] us by doing so that he will not be dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from afar. Keeping an office in Jerusalem is indicative of the Palestinian orientation it will have.”

If Mr. Mitchell locates his office in Jerusalem, he will be joining former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who now serves as the Quartet envoy to the Middle East, who also established his office in Jerusalem and presently holds his meetings there to advance the process in the region.

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Another Israeli security source said the U.S. government has been exerting diplomatic pressure with regard to the type of Israeli government it wants to see in power.

“One should add this to recent meetings with the Syrians and a letter from Hamas to the American president, to get a picture of what kind of era we are entering,” the source said. “The Americans will gladly believe the stories the Palestinian sell them and only after a couple of years will they understand what they got into. Meanwhile we’ll need to eat dirt.”

David Bedein can be reached at: dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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