The Obama transition team is working to distance itself from a controversial negotiator who has been negotiating with Israel’s enemies.

Robert Malley, Middle East director of the International Crisis Group, a think tank that has traditionally been critical of Israel, has been holding discussions with the leaders of Syria, Egypt and Hamas.

Recent reports from the Israeli media, reflected in a recent Bulletin report, had indicated President-elect Barack Obama had sent Mr. Malley to the Middle East on his behalf. This was despite his having quit as an “informal adviser” to the campaign in May after his ties with Hamas became public and a political liability for the Obama campaign.

Mr. Malley had, according to the reports, presented himself as a liaison for President-elect Obama.

The Obama transition team wrote to me, in an official letter, that Mr. Malley does not work for the president-elect.

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This is the article that I wrote about the Obama/Malley connection:

11/07/2008

In First Mideast Policy Initiative, Obama Sends Adviser To Egypt, Syria

By David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent, THE PHILADELPHIA BULLETIN

Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Presidential-elect Barack Obama has dispatched his senior foreign policy adviser Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline the Democrat’s policy on the Middle East.

Mr. Malley, who served in the Clinton administration, relayed a pledge from Mr. Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo as well as reconcile differences with Damascus.

“The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests,” an aide to Mr. Malley said.

The aide said Obama plans to launch a U.S. diplomatic initiative toward Syria, regarded by the Bush administration as a leading supporter of the al-Qaida insurgency in Iraq. Mr. Obama, unlike President George W. Bush, has also 
supported Israeli peace negotiations with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr. Malley, his aides said, met both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and with Mr. Assad to explain Mr. Obama’s agenda for the Middle East.

These aides said that Mr. Obama told Mr. Mubarak that the United States would maintain military and civilian aid and sell advanced F-16 aircraft to Cairo. Egypt has not ordered F-16s in nearly a decade.

Mr. Malley, in his capacity as a senior advisor to President Clinton at the failed Camp David talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, incurred the wrath of many Israeli officials when he laid some of the blame for the failure of the Camp David talks on Israel.

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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.