While Obama and Clinton were enjoying their last joint trip together in Southeast Asia, Gaza, the city in Israel populated by Palestinians, has been under missile attack launched by the Hamas-controlled government at Israeli populations for the last seven days. Israel retaliated by launching rockets of their own at Hamas and people that they consider to be terrorists. In order to help the two forces achieve a peace agreement, Clinton departed from Cambodia, where she and Obama met with Asian leaders, and will make three stops in the Middle East.
She plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Palestinian officials in Ramallah, and Egyptian leaders in Cairo. According to a State Department spokeswoman:
Clinton "will emphasize the United States' interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel's security and regional stability; that can lead to improved conditions for the civilian residents of Gaza; and that can reopen the path to fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis for two states living in peace and security."
For now, Israel, which possesses the strongest military forces in the Middle East, has promised not to escalate the violence by releasing ground forces into Gaza in hopes that a diplomatic solution can be reached with Clinton's aide.
An Israeli official said that Israel will "give time -- limited time -- for a diplomatic solution" before potentially launching a ground offensive. That solution must result in no more Hamas rockets fired on Israel."
Nonetheless, more rockets were fired into Israel, while Israel fired back with more strikes on Tuesday, making signs of an immediate cease-fire grim.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the crisis.
100 Palestinians and three Israelis have already died in Gaza, while hundreds more have been wounded. We need peace now, and we hope our US diplomats will help expedite the process.