Beltway Insider: Clinton Calms Gaza Crisis; Departs Position; Obama Seeks Successor

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President Barack Obama spent the Thanksgiving Holiday with family and friends at the White House after successfully deploying Secretary of State Clinton to calm the escalating mid-east crisis.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped two percentage points to 50% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness gained one percentage point to 42%.

Obama Sends Clinton to Mideast amid Gaza Crisis

President Barack Obama dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East on Tuesday as the U.S. urgently seeks to end a conflict between Israel and Hamas that has killed more than 100 in the last week.

Clinton hastily departed for the region from Cambodia, where she had joined Obama for a summit with Asian leaders. The White House said she would make three stops, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian officials in Ramallah, in the West Bank, and Egyptian leaders in Cairo. Clinton was expected to arrive in Israel on Tuesday night and return to Washington late Wednesday or very early Thursday after making all three stops.

Clinton's trip marks the Obama administration's most forceful engagement in the conflict that has killed more than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis, with hundreds more wounded. While the U.S. has backed Israel's right to defend itself against rocket fire from Gaza, Washington has warned its ally against pursuing a ground assault that would further escalate the violence and could dramatically increase casualties on both sides.

Obama and Clinton have consulted about the widening crisis throughout their three-day tour of Southeast Asia, their final joint trip before Clinton leaves her post as the top U.S. diplomat. They spoke again about the situation Tuesday morning, aides said, and made the decision for her to travel to the region. Still, it was unclear what impact Clinton's presence would have on the violence.

Obama and Clinton each have held multiple telephone calls with their counterparts in Israel and Egypt, which is at the center of negotiations to quell the violence. Because the U.S. considers Hamas a terrorist organization and prohibits contact between its members and American officials, it is relying on Egypt, as well as Turkey and Qatar, to deliver its message to the Hamas leadership in Gaza.

Hamas wants Israel to halt all attacks on Gaza and lift tight restrictions on trade and movement in and out of the territory that have been in place since Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007. Israel demands an end to rocket fire from Gaza and a halt to weapons smuggling into Gaza through tunnels under the border with Egypt.

 

 

Obama Seeks Top Diplomat Successor

As President Obama begins his new term he will need to fill key cabinet positions as current administration members depart. The most noticeable and high profile is that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

The likely replacement for the outgoing Secretary of State would be Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.  Rice, along with Secretary of State Clinton, persuaded the United Nations to implement a No-fly Zone over Libya and has an exemplary record of dedication to furthering peaceful resolutions and petitioning the United Nations on all necessary means to end global terrorism. Unfortunately, her recent television appearances where she reiterated what later turned out to be false statements on the Benghazi tragedy may cause the President to rethink any promotion. 

In addition to the Secretary of State position, the Obama administration will be seeking a new Secretary of Defense it is believed that former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry tops the short list of possibles. Other members of the Obama Administration rumored to be leaving include Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of treasury Tim Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LeHood.

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Associated Press; Julie Page - Obama Sends Clinton to Mideat amid Gaza Crisis; Edits Janet Walker

 

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