WASHINGTON (JTA) — The top U.S. negotiator on Israel-Palestinian issues stepped down.
David Welch, the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, was involved in the renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace process until his final days in the job. His last day was Dec. 19.
In her speech praising his accomplishments, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cited "most importantly, what we’ve done in bringing about the Annapolis process so that Palestinians and Israelis could end the long, cold interregnum between the effort to make peace at the beginning of this decade and the now intensive efforts that they are making to make peace. David Welch has really been at the center of that, and is in many ways responsible."
Senior career diplomats like Welch routinely resign at the end of an administration, but many expect to be reassigned. Welch, the former ambassador to Egypt and a longtime State Department Arabist, chose to leave for good.