Obama, Clinton remain guarded on Gaza conflict

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Obama, Clinton remain guarded on Gaza conflict
Washington, Jan.6: US President-elect Barack Obama and incoming Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton are not letting either the Palestinians or the Israelis know what the American foreign policy vis-À-vis the Middle East will be after Jan 20 this year. According to the New York Daily News, that uncertainty may have spurred Israel's decision to strike at the Hamas before Obama takes office.

Israel's objective 'clearly was to initiate this during the transition,' the paper quotes Aaron David Miller, a Wilson Center scholar and former US Mid East negotiator, as saying. "Three weeks from now it will be his [Obama's] responsibility to resolve this," he added. Obama and Clinton have limited themselves to general comments on Israel's right to self-defense in the current conflict.

An Obama transition aide, while stressing the 'special relationship' between the US and Israel, said: "We are not engaging in any action that could send confusing signals to the world about who speaks on behalf of the United States."

But during the presidential campaign, and before, both Obama and Clinton spoke out strongly on Israel's behalf. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Maliki said, "We are disappointed in President-elect Obama" for not calling on Israel to halt its offensive in Gaza.



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