Aide: Obama "Committed To" Mideast Peace

David Axelrod appears on CBS News' Face The Nation, Dec. 28, 2008.
CBS
As if the downward spiraling economy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a host of domestic issues weren't enough, the renewed conflict in the Mideast is now a major agenda item for President-elect Obama. Speaking on CBS News' Face the Nation, Obama senior White House advisor David Axelrod told guest host Chip Reid that Obama's conversations with Secretary of State Rice are "largely in the area of fact-finding for him. I would hardly describe him as passive."

Axelrod said that the president-elect "recognizes the special relationship between the United States and Israel" and that he wants to help bring about peace.

"Obviously, this situation has become even more complicated in the last couple of days and weeks, as Hamas began shelling, Israel responded. But it's something that he's committed to," Axelrod said.

Alexrod explained that regarding the Middle East the President-elect "wants to get a handle on the situation, so that, when he becomes president on January 20th, he has the advantage of all the facts and information leading up to that point."

Yesterday Obama discussed the Mideast situation today with Secretary of State Rice. "They discussed the situations in Gaza and in South Asia. The president-elect appreciated the call and the information from Secretary Rice. He will continue to closely monitor these and other global events. The call lasted approximately eight minutes and was initiated by the president-elect," a transition aide said.

Obama foreign policy team, which would be led by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State if her appointment is approved, would likely follow a similar policy to the current administration, which has supported Israel's right to defend itself against rockets fired into southern Israel.

In July, Obama said, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."