Mitchell to Visit Middle East this Week

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President Barack Obama's new Middle East envoy plans to visit the region this week.

Former Sen. George Mitchell's visit comes just days before Israel's national elections and days after the end of Israel's military campaign to stop Hamas rocket fire.

Mitchell may pressure Israel to open its border crossings with Gaza, since Obama made that a prominent issue during his appointment.

Click the player to see the report and hear Pat's comments.

The appointment is Mitchell's second to the region.

In 2000, then President Bill Clinton appointed him to report on the second Palestinian intifada. In his report, Mitchell called for an end to all Israeli settlement building in Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile in the Gaza strip, Hamas is reestablishing its rule. Hamas officials began providing compensation for residents of Gaza whose homes were destroyed in its war with Israel.

Hezbollah in Lebanon gave similar assistance following its 2006 war with Israel.

Iran supplied much of the money for Hezbollah in 2006 and now appears to be supplying Hamas.

Following the war, Iran also pledged to send even more advanced weapons to Hamas.

In addition, some of Hamas' smuggling tunnels on Gaza's border with Egypt are operating again. Israel made closing the tunnels a key goal of its military campaign, but just days after the war's end, some analysts believe Israel might need to launch another military campaign in the future. 

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