A top adviser to Barack Obama said the US president-elect is monitoring Israel's intense air offensive again Gaza rocket squads and Hamas members but declined comment on the fresh Mideast crisis, deferring to the Bush administration. David Axelrod said Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, was in contact with US President George W. Bush and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice but that comment from him was not appropriate. More than 290 Palestinians have died in the first two days of the air campaign. "President Bush speaks for the United States until January 20 and we're going to honor that," Axelrod said Sunday. Axelrod, a top presidential campaign official who is moving into Obama's White House inner circle, acknowledged that the United States has had a "special relationship" with Israel, calling it an "important bond, an important relationship."