TEL AVIV, Israel — US President Barack Obama's choice for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) is well versed in the challenges that have thus far prevented Israel and the Palestinian Authority from realizing US and international goals of a two-state peace deal.

As former assistant to then-JCS Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, Paul Selva, then a three-star, served a dual-hatted role as military assistant to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Among his duties: monitoring implementation of Israeli and Palestinian obligations under terms of the so-called Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

As Washington's special envoy, assigned to monitor implementation of the roadmap, Selva made multiple trips to Jerusalem and Ramallah, trying to push both sides into implementing what is now an essentially defunct plan.roadmap.

In one of his visits in May 2010, then-deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon used the occasion to "note the seriousness with which Israel views the continued incitement by the official Palestinian institutions, including the encouragement of popular violence, naming streets and squares after the mass murderers of innocent civilians, and the continued boycott of Israeli goods and the delegitimization of Israel in the international arena."

A Foreign Ministry announcement of the May 12, 2010, meeting with Ayalon noted that it was "yet another visit by the general to the region as part of the American effort to encourage the implementation of the roadmap."

Despite Selva's inability to add "roadmap implementation" to his long and laudable resume, an Israeli diplomat interviewed Tuesday remembers him as "a straight shooter; full of integrity."

But Selva is in good company.

Like retired USMC Gen. James Jones, a former US national security adviser; and Gen. John Allen, former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, he is among the growing list of military luminaries with up-close and personal experience in the seemingly intractable drive toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.


Twitter: @OpallRome

Opall-Rome is Israel bureau chief for Defense News. She has been covering U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, Mideast security and missile defense since May 1988. She lives north of Tel Aviv. Visit her website at

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