US President Barack Obama said on Monday the world must focus on a cease-fire in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to put an end to the rising number of civilian casualties.The Emergency Committee for Israel blasted Obama's call.
The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip rose above 500 on Monday. Hamas, which killed 13 Israeli soldiers in Gaza on Sunday in the biggest one-day toll in eight years, continued to fire rockets deep into Israel.
Obama repeated that Israel had the right to defend itself against onslaughts from Hamas militants but said he had serious concerns about the growing number of civilian deaths resulting from the conflict.
"As I've said many times, Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas. And as a result of its operations, Israel has already done significant damage to Hamas's terrorist infrastructure in Gaza," Obama told reporters at the White House.
"I've also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, and that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians," he said.
Israel does not need a mediator. Israel needs an ally. Pressuring Israel to agree to a cease-fire that rescues Hamas from defeat and leaves it in possession of its missiles, tunnels, and terror infrastructure is foolish and wrong. If President Obama and Secretary Kerry want to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, they should support Israel and its campaign to end the terror threat from Gaza.That's been the problem since Day One of this administration. Obama does not see himself or the United States of America as Israel's ally.
For those who have forgotten, as one of Obama's first acts even before becoming President, Obama forced Israel to stop Operation Cast Lead before his inauguration. After Operation Pillar of Defense, which was stopped before there was a ground invasion, Hamas started making threats before the ink on the cease fire was dry. There too, an inauguration was about six weeks away. Obama is about Obama - and nothing else. Counting the days until his term is over.