"The Obama people are hoping this crisis runs its course before they take the wheel, because if it's still going on they will have to deal with it front and center on the foreign-policy plate," says Wayne White, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington and a former official with the State Department Policy Planning staff. "They had hoped to get off on a different foot in the Middle East than to be handed this mess."
Who's pressing for a cease-fire?
Diplomatic efforts to reach a cease-fire continued in the region and at the United Nations Monday. Leaders of the Arab League were set to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon Monday afternoon to press their demands for a cease-fire.
Several European leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy were in the Middle East also promoting an immediate cease-fire.
Israel, however, shows no signs of bowing to international pressure to end its 10-day offensive against Hamas and its military structure.
At a press conference Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni dismissed the European idea to place international observers in Gaza to monitor Hamas military activity and to stop the rocket fire into Israel that set off the Israeli offensive. Saying, "I don't see how this can help," she called instead for an international mission on Gaza's border with Egypt to close down tunnels used for smuggling arms into Gaza and to prevent new ones from being dug.