George Mitchell, President Obama’s top envoy to the Middle East, is currently on an eight-day “listening tour” of the region. Recently, he met with Israeli and Palestinian officials to discuss the cease-fire between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants in Gaza. During the meeting, Mitchell told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that “a sustainable and durable cease-fire” was necessary. He also expressed the “deep concern” of President Obama over “the loss of Palestinian life and the humanitarian needs in Gaza.” Mitchell stressed that the objective of the United States was to create long-term peace. Israel is asking for international assistance in preventing Hamas militants from smuggling weapons into Gaza and firing rockets into Israel. This initial meeting with Mitchell is part of an effort by the Obama administration to help promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
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