JERUSALEM — Preventive diplomacy, by its nature, does not often lead to splashy headlines for the practitioner.
In his nearly six years as the top United Nations envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nickolay E. Mladenov worked quietly behind the scenes to help keep the Gaza Strip from boiling over, preserve the possibility of a two-state solution and build support for Israeli-Arab normalization as a vastly preferable alternative to the Israeli annexation of West Bank land.
But he did notch at least one achievement that qualifies as eye-catching: He earned the respect of just about everyone he dealt with, many of whom view one another as enemies.
“A very honest broker,” Rami Hamdallah, a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, called him.
abruptly bowed out of another high-profile assignment, in Libya, to contend with what he described as a serious health problem.
In a two-hour exit interview, he recalled being surprised at how irrelevant he initially felt upon arriving in Jerusalem in 2015 as U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process — a post created in 1999, when there still was a peace process.
His predecessors had by and large functioned as gadflies, experts said, firing off statements that tended to criticize Israel but seldom venturing from the sidelines.
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