Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Prime Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr today announced a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, ending eight days of violence that resulted in nearly 150 dead and more wounded. President Obama dispatched Clinton to the region yesterday and the nation’s top diplomat traveled to Jerusalem and Cairo today to help facilitate the deal.
But in a statement on the Gaza ceasefire today, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) — one day after intelligence officials debunked their attacks on the Obama administration over Benghazi — didn’t have any kind words for the president and his team. In fact, the new “Three Amigos” attacked Obama, saying there needs to be “smarter American leadership” in the Middle East.
Yet the three Republicans did have praise for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi:
We commend Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders for the role they played in reaching today’s ceasefire. We also are encouraged by the responsible leadership role played by the President of Egypt and his government. President Morsi deserves credit for successfully bringing an end to the violence and preventing further loss of life on both sides. These actions are befitting the commitment to peace and security that Egypt has traditionally upheld as a leader of the Arab world.
Indeed, Netanyahu, Morsi and others involved ending the hostilities deserve credit — but so does the Obama administration. And given their embarrassing campaign to bring down the Obama administration on Libya, it’s not entirely shocking that McCain and his allies don’t see it that way.
Reporting that the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel continues to hold, the New York Times notes that the deal “was reached only through a final American diplomatic push: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conferred for hours with Mr. Morsi and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, at the presidential palace” in Cairo.
Morsi’s top foreign policy aide praised Obama’s role in the negotiations. “Yes, they were carrying the point of view of the Israeli side, but they were understanding also the other side, the Palestinian side,” he said of President Obama’s role. “The sincerity and understanding was really very helpful.”