Obama’s Answer To a Question About Gaza

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On January 6, 2009, President-Elect Barack Obama finally made a public statement on Israel’s war on Gaza. It came at the end of a news conference on his economic stimulus plan at his Washington, DC-transition office.

“Obviously, I am deeply concerned about the conflict that's taking place there,” he said. “I'm being fully briefed and monitored - 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 for me.”

Below in its entirety is what he said on Gaza:

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President-elect. You're being put under a lot of pressure internationally to get more involved in the situation in Gaza. I understand you think there should only be one president at a time, but what do you have to say to the Israelis and the Palestinians who are fighting and dying in Gaza?

OBAMA: As I've said before, when it comes to foreign policy, I think the need to adhere to one president at a time is particularly important. In domestic policy, Democrats, Republicans, we can have arguments back and forth about what tax policies are going to be. When it comes to international affairs, other countries are looking to see who speaks for America. Right now, President George Bush, as president of the United States, speaks on behalf of the U.S. government and the American people when it comes to international affairs.

Obviously, I am deeply concerned about the conflict that's taking place there. I'm being fully briefed and monitored - 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 for me.

And after January 20th, I am going to have plenty to say about the issue. And I am not backing away at all from what I said during the campaign, that I - starting at the beginning of our administration, we are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflicts that exist in the Middle East.

That's something that I'm committed to. I think it's not only right for the people in that region; most importantly, it's right for the national security of the American people and the stability that is so important to this country. So on January 20th, you will be hearing directly from me and my opinions on this issue. Until then, my job is to monitor the situation and put together the best possible national security team so that we hit the ground running once we are responsible for national security issues.

Mr. Obama has been widely criticized for his silence. See “Mr. Obama’s Deafening Silence on Gaza.”

Source: The New York Times.com

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