Dennis Ross announces he is leaving the Obama administration in December

Israel/Palestine
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Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross, the man who personifies the failed peace process over five administrations, the man dubbed “Israel’s lawyer” and, by Abe Foxman, an “advocate” for Israel, the former chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute– is reported to be packing his bags. From the Times, tweeted and at the site: “Dennis B. Ross, Envoy to Hot Spots, Will Leave Administration in December, Official Says.”

Mark Landler’s story:

Dennis B. Ross, a seasoned diplomat who has been one of President Obama’s most influential advisers on Iran, the Middle East peace process and the political upheaval in the Arab world, will leave the White House in December, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

Mr. Ross, who announced his departure at a lunch with Jewish leaders, told White House officials that he promised his wife he would leave the government after two years.

The secret of Ross’s method, per Aaron David Miller:

Dennis, like myself, had an inherent tendency to see the world of Arab-Israeli politics first from Israel’s vantage point rather than that of the Palestinians… his own strong Jewish identity and his commitment to Israel’s security combined with something else: a deep conviction that if you couldn’t gain Israel’s confidence, you had zero chance of erecting any kind of peace process. And to Dennis, achieving this goal required a degree of coordination with the Israelis…

Huh. No wonder there’s no Palestinian state!

And here’s a bit of wisdom about Egypt from Ross’s last book, Myths, Illusions and Peace (2009), with David Makovsky:

One thing is certain: in a place like Egypt change was not going to come rapidly or easily…. Reform efforts require a serious commitment and a thought-out strategy. They must embody more than short-term pressures and rhetorical flourishes.

Update: ABC News has a statement from Ross:

After nearly three years of serving in the Administration, I am going to be leaving to return to private life. I do so with mixed feelings. It has been an honor to work in the Obama Administration and to serve this President, particularly during a period of unprecedented change in the broader Middle East. Obviously, there is still work to do but I promised my wife I would return to government for only two years and we both agreed it is time to act on my promise. I am grateful to President Obama for having given me the opportunity once again to work on a wide array of Middle Eastern issues and challenges and to support his efforts to promote peace in the region.

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