U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will work closely with Israel and Palestine to promote peace in the Middle East, his top adviser said Sunday.
The president-elect is "going to work closely with the Israelis...But he will do so in a way that will promote the cause of peace, and work closely with the Israelis and the Palestinians on that," David Axelrod, a top Obama strategist who will become a White House senior advisor, said in interviews with U.S. TV networks.
He said Obama is closely monitoring Israel's raid on Gaza and is in contact with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the issue.
But Axelrod refused to offer an opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"President George W. Bush speaks for the United States until Jan. 20 and we are going to honor that," he said.
Axelrod noted that peace in the Middle East is something Obama is committed to.
Rice issued a statement Saturday, condemning "the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel" and holding Hamas responsible for "breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza."
Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton is also staying informed on the situation.
Obama will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009.
About 300 people have been killed and 1,000 injured in Israeli air strikes against Gaza since Saturday.
(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2008)