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Middle East peace resurging as administration goal

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Months ahead of the presidential election, it seems that the White House is moving full speed ahead in trying to pursue Middle East peace.

In what President Barack Obama described as one the admitted shortfalls of his administration, the White House has seemingly ramped up its involvement in the instability-ridden region. The White House announced that National Security Advisor Tom Donilon visited Israel from July 14 to 15—while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Israel a day after.

The visits come as American Jewish leaders appealed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reject a report that denies Israel is occupying the West Bank. The report, authored by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, is argued to hurt Israel’s image, according to the authors of the letter to Netanyahu.

The Levy report, written by a committee with pro-settler sympathies and released last week, reaffirmed Israel's longstanding position that the West Bank is not occupied territory and therefore Israel has the legal right to settle it, the Associated Press reported. That position is at odds with the international consensus that settlements are illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.

In a briefing ahead of Clinton’s trip to the Middle East, the State Department said that the Secretary will address Israel’s role in a post-election unstable Egypt. In what was her first visit to Egypt after the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, Clinton was seemingly less than welcomed there—she was met with her motorcade being pelted with water bottles, tomatoes and shoes.

Clinton’s visit to Egypt and Israel was aimed at reiterating that “Israel has a deep stake in Egypt’s role as a leader in regional peace and security and Egypt’s commitment to the Egyptian-Israeli treaty of peace,” the State Department said.

The uptick in American involvement in the Middle East comes also as the violence in Syria is increasing.

The Pentagon on Monday sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East several months early to ensure a constant presence in the troubled area.

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