Archive for the ‘David Axelrod’ Category

Israel lands on Obama’s front burner

December 29, 2008

Forget Medvedev in Russia and the other big talkers world wide.  Israel is now on Obama’s front burner…


Israel’s continuing attacks on Gaza serve as a reminder that President-elect Barack Obama and his nominee to be secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will not get to choose the world they inherit Jan. 20.

The incoming administration had planned to focus on the economic crisis and recalibrating U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan in its early months — but the Israeli assault on Hamas may have instantly changed that calculus.

“For all the talk of putting the [Middle East] conflict on the back burner, it’s going force itself onto the front burner,” said Daniel Levy, a fellow at the New America Institute. Levy said that if the conflict in Gaza is still ongoing when Obama takes office, he will face regional and international pressure to broker a settlement.

“It could involve the administration very early,” Levy said.

Obama’s views on the Israeli action remain opaque. Even as the attack continued into its third day Monday, with a Palestinian death toll topping 300 and Israel threatening a ground invasion, Obama had yet to say a word about the crisis, on the grounds that President George W. Bush (who has also been silent) must take the lead.

There were growing signs Monday that the air strikes — which came in response to increased rocket fire from Gaza, which is governed by Hamas — could be accompanied by a ground incursion. Israel’s leaders signaled that this could be an extended conflict, while emphatically denying any intention of reoccupying the independently governed territory.

Though both sides in the Middle East are intensely aware that this battle will establish facts on the ground in the region for the new administration, Obama’s advisers have sent only vague signals, with David Axelrod on “Face the Nation” Sunday calling Israel a “great ally” and citing America’s “special relationship” with the Jewish state.

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Obama Support For Israel Uncertain; Gaza Attacks Complicate Policy Making

December 29, 2008

George Bush and Condoleezza Rice failed.  Numerous heads of the United Nations have failed.  Palestinian and Arab leaders have failed.  Now maybe Barack Obama will inherit the Middle East peace process like many before him.

With less than a month until the inauguration, the U.S. president-elect could inherit a Middle East in international crisis  — and it will be his to fix or suffer through.

The death toll from a weekend of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza has topped 300, Palestinian medical sources said Monday.

Israel’s air assault began a third day amid wide ranging condemnation from the international community.

The United States has always been Israel’s number one ally: but with a new president to take office on January 20, 2009, new policy is being formulated in the U.S. that involves Israel now….


The deaths of hundreds of Palestinians in Israel‘s deadliest-ever air assault on Hamas further complicate President-elect Barack Obama‘s challenge to achieve a Middle East peace — something that eluded both the Bush and Clinton administrations.

The Bush administration has blamed the renewed violence on the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, saying it broke a cease-fire by firing rockets and mortars deep into Israeli territory. The Arab world, however, has reacted with rage to the aggressive Israeli counterattacks, which have left at least 290 Palestinians dead and more than 600 wounded.

It’s unclear whether Obama will be as supportive of Israel as President George W. Bush has been.

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

Fire burns late Sunday or early Monday in Gaza, where Israel has been bombing what it says are Hamas targets.

Fire burns late Sunday or early Monday in Gaza, where Israel has been bombing what it says are Hamas targets.

David Axelrod, senior adviser to Obama, chose his words carefully Sunday, saying the president-elect would honor the “important bond” between the United States and Israel.

“He wants to be a constructive force in helping to bring about the peace and security that both the Israelis and the Palestinians want and deserve,” Axelrod said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Obviously, this situation has become even more complicated in the last couple of days and weeks. As Hamas began its shelling, Israel responded. But it’s something that he’s committed to.”

Pressed about how much support Obama will offer Israel, Axelrod said: “He’s going to work closely with the Israelis. They’re a great ally of ours, the most important ally in the region. … But he will do so in a way that will promote the cause of peace, and work closely with the Israelis and the Palestinians on that — toward that objective.”

Israel had been carrying out its attack exclusively from the air, but the Israeli Cabinet has authorized the military to call up 6,500 reserve soldiers for a possible ground invasion.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “I mean, Israel certainly has the right to self-defense, of course. Hamas has not recognized Israel’s right to exist. … But I’m hopeful that as this transition comes, as we look to January, that strong presidential leadership can make a difference here.”

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