Politico 44 reported today that President Barack Obama wasted no time diving in on Day One on what has been the most persistent and thorny issue for all his predecessors: Mideast diplomacy. Obama phoned four of the region’s most American-friendly leaders: President Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel, King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority.
Obama had avoided any extended discussion about Gaza during the transition, frequently reminding reporters that there is “only one president at a time.” But even before a full day has gone by since his swearing in, Obama is sending a message that he intends to take a more active role than Bush in the region.
“He used this opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term, and to express his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership,” said Robert Gibbs in a statement. “In the aftermath of the Gaza conflict, he emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the ceasefire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming, and facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza. He pledged that the United States would do its part to make these efforts successful, working closely with the international community and these partners as they fulfill their responsibilities as well. The President appreciated the spirit of partnership and warm nature of these calls.”