Obama on Gaza

January 6, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Posted in Barack Obama, International | Leave a comment

From Ben Smith:

Breaking his silence on the conflict in Gaza, the president-elect deplored the civilian casualties, which have been overwhelmingly on the Palestinian side, after a meeting with fiscal and economic advisors today.

“I’m very concerned with the conflict taking place there,” Obama said. “I’m monitoring the situation on a day to day basis.

“The loss of civilian life in Gaza and in Israel is a source of deep concern to me, and after January 20th I’ll have plenty to say about the issue.”

Obama said he was “not backing away at all from what I said during the campaign” and that “starting at the beginning of our administration, we’re going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflict in the Middle East.”

Obama’s emphasis on civilian casualties breaks slightly with the White House line, which has been to blame Hamas first.

There’s not much there, of course, and certainly nothing which could break the diplomatic constraints I wrote about earlier. Nonetheless, his statement is telling for what isn’t there; Obama doesn’t refer to the civilian deaths in the absract, nor does he seek to blame all those deaths on Hamas. Beyond that, the reassurance that his administration will “engage effectively and consistently” in trying to resolve the conflict should be a sign that he won’t allow situations like this to develop on his watch.

14 days to go.

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