The hope was that the focus of Washington in the closing days of 2012 would be on domestic issues. But attention has abruptly turned to the Middle East and new fighting in Gaza and hopes for a workable cease fire. Even during a congressional break, YNN's Bill Carey says New York's two U.S. Senators are keeping a close eye on developments.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Two U.S. Senators, touring the state, making appearances during a congressional recess for the Thanksgiving holiday. Talking about various local issues, but keeping a close eye on events in the Middle East.
The death toll has been mounting for several days as rockets fly from Gaza, aimed at Israel and Israel strikes back.
“The Israelis did what any nation would do. When rockets rained on their own territory and this is not disputed territory, for months and months and months, they had no choice but to respond,” said Senator Charles Schumer.
Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand both expressing hope that any cease fire is more than temporary and that the arrival of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the region will help step up efforts to secure something more permanent than a temporary truce.
Gillibrand said, “Secretary Clinton has brought to bear other nations to help. Other Muslim countries, Arab nations, focused on how we can bring peace to the Middle East.”
“The U.S role should be to try to bring both sides together to create some modicum of peace,” Schumer said.
There is also some optimism that new leadership in Egypt, believed to be more sympathetic to Hamas, is attempting to play the role of peace broker.
“It's very important and I think everyone is hopeful that they will provide the kind of leadership, in these types of negotiations, to allow for peaceful resolutions,” Gillibrand said.
Support for Israel. Optimism that the crisis can be defused.
The Senators will continue their pre-holiday travels, aware that Washington needs to be focused on other issues, like the fiscal cliff, rather than a new outbreak of fighting between very old enemies.