Israeli leaders told visiting European officials on Sunday that they plan to get all Israeli soldiers out of the Gaza Strip prior to the inauguration of US President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday.
While Israeli media quoted the officials as calling the rapid withdrawal a "gesture" to the incoming US president, it raised suspicions among commentators that Obama and his team had put heavy pressure on Israel to immediately end the war on Hamas.
Israeli cabinet ministers clarified the decision somewhat in remarks to Ynet, saying that Israel wants to avoid "embarrassing" Obama as he takes office as Jerusalem desperately desires maintain the close cooperation between Israel and the US in the global war on terror.
There is concern in Israel that Obama will pull back a little bit from the traditional American relationship with Israel as he seeks to play appeaser with other Middle East regimes.
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