U.S. envoy George Mitchell will meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today to try to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Also on Mitchell’s schedule is a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile outlined the U.S. approach in a speech. She said that Washington will push the parties “to lay out their positions on the core issues without delay, and with real specificity,” vowing that “the United States will not be a passive participant.”
Two of Obama’s top advisers—Richard Holbrooke and Timothy Geithner—were in the hospital on Friday. Treasury Secretary Geithner, who underwent surgery for a kidney stone, was released ahead of schedule on Friday night. He’s expected back at work today. But Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is still in critical condition. He was hospitalized on Friday and underwent 20 hours of surgery for a torn aorta on Saturday. He went back in to the operating room yesterday to “improve circulation” according to the State Department. If untreated, Holbrooke’s condition can kill within 48 hours. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari both called Holbrooke’s wife, Kati Marton. President Obama also gave her a call on Saturday.
The number of troops fighting in Afghanistan isn’t likely to change in the near future according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. Speaking in Iraq, he said “I'm comfortable with where we are in terms of numbers.”
Another military man, General David Petraeus, is making headlines thanks to Barbara Walters. Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan, beat out Canadian pop icon Justin Bieber (as well as soon-to-be-princess Kate Middleton, Sarah Palin and Betty White) to be named Walters’s “most fascinating person of 2010.” She called him “a fixer” and a “true American hero.”
Hillary Clinton is getting a hand from her husband and former-President Bill Clinton. During her presidential campaign, Secretary Clinton wracked up quite a bit of debt. To help pay that off, Bill Clinton is raffling off a chance to spend a day with him in New York. It’s not the first time he’s done a fundraiser of this sort for Secretary Clinton, but he said that he had “such a good time” he’d like to do it again.