The Obama administration officially supports the Gaza blockade, as the Bush administration did before it. But Mr. Obama, some aides say, has expressed strong frustration privately with the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
At a time when the United States is increasingly linking its own national security interests in the region to the inability of Israelis and Palestinians to make peace, heightened tensions over Monday’s killings could deepen the divide between the Israeli government and the Obama administration just as Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu were trying to overcome recent differences.
foreign policy experts who advise the administration agreed that if Mr. Obama wanted to move ahead with the peace talks, preceded by the so-called proximity or indirect talks, the flotilla raid demonstrated that he may have to tackle the thornier issue of the Gaza blockade.
For the Obama administration, the first order of business may be figuring out a way to hammer out a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas that will end the blockade of Gaza.