Mission: Boost peace efforts
Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is leading the delegation, said that the Elders had arrived not on behalf of any government, but in order to boost peace efforts, which have failed to truly get off the ground despite the intensive efforts of the Obama administration. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in London on Tuesday holding talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and is to meet with US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell on Wednesday amid increasing pressure to meet a compromise deal as envisioned by Mr. Obama: an expected Israeli settlement freeze in exchange for moves towards normalization from the Arab world.
"We are very supportive of current efforts to reopen negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians – and hope very much that this will happen. We also recognize that people have lost hope in the political process. We want to say to people here - peace is possible - and we will support their efforts in any way we can," Cardoso said before a meeting at an Israeli youth center. The group also went to Israel's Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem, and met with a controversial rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas movement.