Worthy Christian News » Israel-Palestinian Conflict » Israel Suspends Contact with Mitchell Committee
Israel has frozen cooperation with the Mitchell Committee appointed to investigate the causes of the current violence, following an unauthorized visit by the committee's technical team to the Temple Mount last week.
Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Liel on Sunday informed the chairman of the eight-man team, former US ambassador to Chad Larry Pope, that Israel is cutting ties until clear objectives are drawn up between the Israeli government and the new Bush administration. Liel told Pope that the government viewed the visit to the site as a grave violation of trust.
The five primary members of the committee, meanwhile, have delayed their arrival in Israel until after the February 6 elections. The committee issued a statement saying it "relies on the full cooperation of the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to carry out its work" and that it "regrets" the government's decision. The technical team explained its visit to the Temple Mount by noting international visitors went to the site without government or police escort, and it had only done the same.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak sent a letter to former US President Bill Clinton three days ago protesting the visit, saying it placed a question mark over Israel's future cooperation with the committee.
The establishment of the Mitchell committee was one of the terms of the unsigned Sharm e-Sheikh truce in October, and was conditioned on the termination of Palestinian violence. Clear guidelines spelling out the committee's scope and terms of reference have not yet been put in writing.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.