December 29th, 2008
02:50 PM ET

Israel lands on Obama's front burner

Program Note: Be sure to tune in tomorrow night to watch Ben Smith of Politico.com talk about how the incoming Obama administration will have to handle the situation in Gaza. That's Tuesday night, Dec. 30, on AC360° at 10 pm ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/27/obama.gaza/art.obamaeconomy.gi.jpg caption="Barack Obama's approach to the Middle East as president will be the subject of much scrutiny."]

Ben Smith and Harry Siegel

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.


Filed under: Global 360° • Israel • Raw Politics
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Dianne

    For once I hope the US will be fair and equal between Israel and Palestine.Israel has wronged Palestine also. To cover themselves Israel always haqs a good reason to go to war. Much of it probably is manufactured. Since the have all the advanced weapons fron the US, it does not really broker peace. No nation gives the Palestians any modern weapons. It is time for Europe to step in and help moderate peace with Palestine and Israel. Perhaps they can be more equal and fairer to the peace process than the biased US.

    December 29, 2008 at 8:29 pm |
  2. Daniel James, Chicago, A concerned viewer

    Barack Obama must support Israel in defeating the terrorist organization Hamas. Doing anything else would be a slap in the face of our ally Israel. If Israel does not stop Hamas from shooting rockets, this war would be a complete waste of time.

    Israel will have to invade Gaza with ground troops. This will help limit civilian casualties and precisely target the terrorists. If they continue with just air strikes the civilians in Gaza will continue to suffer and be killed. This war will not be stop without boots on the ground. This is the way wars have always been won.

    December 29, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  3. Tomasz

    Israel closed the borders and imposed a seige after the Ceasefire was started 6 months ago, you remember that.

    America supports Israel with arms, equipment and expertise; Resistance movements in the Middle East like Hamas and Hezbollah need someone to support them. Arab leaders are selling themselves to the US and Israel, just look at Mahmoud Abbas.

    All ceasefires must have a provision that does not give Israel leeway to control the borders and the sovereignty of the Palestinians.

    America must invite people that are not on the payroll or pandering to it to the negotiating table. This is because the truth must be discussed, not agenda promotion.

    December 29, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  4. Dan Taylor

    When is somebody going to start asking the right questions and getting to the root of this problem. The bottom line is that the Arab world, because of the terrorist propaganda is at war with the Western world. Israel is a Western country, supported by Westerners, but located in the Middle East. We need to 1) stop dictating western principals to the Middle East and 2) get Israel out of the Middle East. The sooner we leave the Arab world alone, the sooner all this terrorism goes away. Fighting Hamas may be successful, but who will rise up in their place???

    December 29, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  5. Dian E. Ferguson

    All Out War on Gaza – The headlines read. This is ridiculous as this implies that there is something equal between the two of them, that their military might be able to be compared. No the real facts are that Israel is killing civilians, perhaps some Hamas members as well while they destroy the will of a people under the guise of self defense and self determination. The US assists them in this effort with our billion of dollars in financial assistance. I am an American, a black American. I know for certain when the odds are not equal and no effort is really being made to solve serious problems. The US policy is bias towards Israel; it has always been in my lifetime. I hope and pray that the US, the UN and all nations will seriously look at crafting policy in 2009 that speaks to the real issues of a separate state, policies that benefit both groups and the financial assistance that is necessary to bring the Palestinians and the Jewish state peace and self-determination.

    December 29, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Brian DeShazer

    This is a scary thought as we all try to move forward in putting accountability in the US; the truth is what is going to change and how can this event be nothing more than the same old song and dance (we have seen this type of violence before...history does not lie). With that being said in order to solve the issue (a major one) the US must find a common ground and end the violence at all costs (this may involve separating ourselves from personal and involved relationships), we must get to the root of the problem and then move toward peace...if it is not already to late...

    December 29, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  7. aliyah jadallah

    it is not fair for the palestinians, that America does not realize this sitaution. first and foremost why wouldn't Israel bomb another city such as Jerusalem? because they know there are no Jews in the Gaza area. We are considered "terrorists" for what defending ourselfs and our rights????? also America has said that it a restart to the occupation. let me state tha I have been to Palestine recently this year and they may have just started their siege over gaza again but when I went their if you said or complaint to the Israeli's at the checkpoints they would give you a hard time unless you aren't american. Also america does not realize that their tax money is being given to Israel for disasterous reasons. Even if there is peace and America keeps giving its tax money to Israel the money will go to building on more cities and chaos will form in the Palestinian territories. so when saying we are the bad guys think again. because america is the real terrorist. FOR ONCE CAN'T AMERICA BBE ON THE ARABS/PALESTINIANS SIDE????

    December 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm |