As the Obama administration’s new Middle East envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell has the toughest of diplomatic tasks on his hands: negotiating peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. But “if anyone can succeed in this difficult endeavor," it's Mitchell, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mitchell was instrumental in Northern Ireland peace talks—and he’s faced a range of other battles including steroid use in baseball and corporate infighting, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Mitchell is noted for creative peacemaking tactics: In Northern Ireland, for example, he forced quarreling leaders to eat together without discussing politics; and when a deadline approached, he sped a resolution by threatening to leave the next day regardless of the result, the Boston Globe reports. The former senator is known for neutrality and compromise. In a previous Middle East deal, “neither side was entirely happy, and that was a good thing,” said a Palestinian negotiator.