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Gaza complicates Obama's policy in Mideast

Monday, December 29, 2008 , Posted by Linda at 10:13 AM

CRAWFORD, Texas – 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.

Obama 'committed' to Middle East peace: aide AFP – US President-elect Barack Obama (2ndR) departs a gym after his morning work out, taking time to talk

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.

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."

Jon Alterman, head of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, speculated that Israeli leaders synchronized their retaliatory attacks to political calendars in both Israel and the U.S. More moderate politicians running in the Feb. 10 national election needed to appear strong against Hamas, and it was perhaps better to strike before Bush left office on Jan. 20 because they weren't as sure what Obama's reaction would be.

"I think Obama will be supportive of Israel, but will bring a little more skepticism to it," Alterman said. "I think Obama will start from premise that Israel is an ally, but that we have to look at this fresh."

The White House was mum about the situation in Gaza on Sunday after speaking out strongly on Saturday. The Bush administration condemned the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and said it held Hamas responsible for breaking a cease-fire. The U.S. implored Israel to avoid civilian casualties and asked all concerned to address the urgent humanitarian needs of innocent people in Gaza.

Bush, who is staying at his Texas ranch, spoke on the phone with national security adviser Stephen Hadley to receive an update on the situation and was being kept abreast of developments throughout the day, said Gordon Johndroe, a presidential spokesman. He said Bush would receive an intelligence briefing via a secured video hookup at the ranch early Monday morning and would be briefed then on any overnight developments.

According to an aide on Obama's transition team, the president-elect, who is in Hawaii, continues to closely monitor global events, including the situation in Gaza. He had an intelligence briefing Sunday and plans to talk with his incoming national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his nominee for secretary of state.

The aide said Obama appreciates the information the Bush administration is sharing with him. The aide requested anonymity because the Obama team is refraining from comment, saying the U.S. has only one president at a time.

When Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007, it fractured governance of the Palestinian territory. The other part, the West Bank, is controlled by moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The renewed violence increases the volatility of an already unstable area.

"It undoubtedly will have a very severe impact on wherever the next administration would like to go," Ed Abington, a former American diplomat who advises Abbas, said in an interview. "You can't kill almost 300 Palestinians and wound 600 to 700 and not have repercussions in the region."

"I don't quite know where the Israelis want to end up," he added, saying that trying to bomb Hamas into submission only rekindles radicalization. Abington said Israel's retaliatory attacks weaken, not strengthen, the stature of Abbas, who is backed by the West.

Alterman said, however, that if Hamas is weakened by the bombings in Gaza, Abbas' position could be emboldened. "It's possible to imagine that he could emerge as some sort of broker who saves Gaza from an Israeli onslaught," Alterman said.

Currently have 2 comments:

  1. Ted says:

    ROADMAP TO ADDRESS THE LOOMING CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS:

    Since the Supreme Court has now prevented itself from acknowledging the question of whether Barack H. Obama is or is not an Article II “natural born citizen” based on the Kenyan/British citizenship of Barack Obama’s father at the time of his birth (irrespective of whether Barack Obama is deemed a “citizen” born in Hawaii or otherwise) as a prerequisite to qualifying to serve as President of the United States under the Constitution -- the Court having done so at least three times and counting, first before the Nov 4 general election and twice before the Dec 15 vote of the College of Electors -- it would seem appropriate, if not necessary, for all Executive Branch departments and agencies to secure advance formal advice from the United States Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel as to how to respond to expected inquiries from federal employees who are pledged to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” as to whether they are governed by laws, regulations, orders and directives issued under Mr. Obama during such periods that said employees, by the weight of existing legal authority and prior to a decision by the Supreme Court, believe in good faith that Mr. Obama is not an Article II “natural born citizen”.

    Moreover, each and every member of Congress should be notified that he or she is personally liable (can be sued) for his or her own failure, or the same in conspiracy with other members, to perform what is a ministerial and constitutional duty, that is, to require and/or insist that Presidential electoral votes only be counted for candidates who are “natural born citizens” under Article II of the United States Constitution, the failure of which creates a cause of action for deprivation of claimants’ constitutional rights (as allowed under the Bivens case) against employees of the Federal Government, in this case, to a lawful President and Commander in Chief, and therefore, for deprivation of adequate continuation of the United States as a Constitutional Republic. The constitutionally tortious conduct is not subject to congressional immunity and would be the jettison of Article II of the Constitution by failure to stop and/or object to the counting of electoral votes for Barack H. Obama who has admitted that at the time of his birth his father was a Kenyan/British citizen and not a citizen of the United States of America.

    Finally, if 1/20/09 comes and goes with a usurper in the Whitehouse (that is, Obama is definitely NOT an Article II “natural born citizen” -- dad Kenyan/British citizen at BHO’s birth -- albeit he MAY be a 14th Amendment “citizen”) with usurper enablers in Congress and the Supreme Court … God help us because many of the people will -- rightfully and under our Constitution and Declaration of Independence -- endeavor through other means to take back the Government from what is nothing less than a non-constitutional coup d’etat. (SCOTUS now does have the power to forestall that grim yet inevitable scenario, otherwise the blood and possible loss of our Constitutional Republic is SQUARELY ON THEIR HEADS.)

  1. Ted says:

    Challenge, can anyone prove this wrong?:–

    1. Constitution Article II requires USA President to be “natural born citizen”.

    2. BHO’s website admits his dad was Kenyan/British, not American, citizen when BHO was born.

    3. BHO is therefore not a “natural born citizen” (irrespective of Hawaiian birth or whether he may be a 14th Amendment “citizen” of USA) — as confirmed in the Senate’s own McCain qualification resolution agreed to by BHO.

    4. Supreme Court has already docketed two upcoming conferences, 1/9/09 and 1/16/09 — between dates Congress counts electoral votes (1/8/09) and Presidential inauguration (1/20/09) — to address Berg Case and fashion relief on BHO’s eligibility to be President.

    5. Since no facts are in dispute, Supreme Court rules on Summary Judgment to enjoin BHO’s inauguration as President.

    6. Therefore, BHO is not inaugurated as President.

    7. Vice President Elect Biden is inaugurated Acting President under the 20th Amendment to serve until new President is determined — the procedure for which determination to be set out by Congress and/or the Supreme Court so long as in conformance with the Constitution.