Thank you, Mr. President. Today, the United States strongly condemned the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel and expressed regret at the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence. This evening, President Obama spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Morsi of Egypt about the developing situation in Gaza.
President Obama told Prime Minister Netanyahu that he understands and supports Israel’s right to self-defense in light of countless rocket attacks on Israeli civilians being launched from Gaza. The President urged that Prime Minister Netanyahu make every effort to avoid civilian casualties, and agreed that Hamas needs to stop the attacks on Israel and allow the situation to de-escalate. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch in the coming days.
President Obama also spoke with President Morsi of Egypt, given Egypt’s critical role in regional security. Both agreed that everyone’s interests are best served by ensuring that this situation does not escalate. The two similarly agreed to stay in close touch over the coming days.
The Government of Israel has noted that, since the beginning of 2012, more than 768 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza, and over 12,000 in the past 12 years. Israel, like any nation, has the right to defend itself against such vicious attacks.
There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately.
Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza nor to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination and independence.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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