Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu talk again
By: POLITICO Staff
July 27, 2014 04:08 PM EDT
Emphasizing the need for “an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire,” President Barack Obama talked by phone Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.
The discussion came on the same day that attempts at extending a 12-hour ceasefire in fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip came undone, with both sides blaming the other. Secretary of State John Kerry has been pressing the two sides to halt the fighting that has claimed more than 1,100 lives, most of them Palestinian.
Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday,” reiterating his government’s position that Israel is not the obstacle to peace.
“We’ve accepted five ceasefires, acted upon them. Hamas has rejected every single one of them,” Netanyahu told David Gregory in his “Meet the Press” appearance. “Violated them, including two humanitarian ceasefires, which we accepted and implemented in the last 24 hours. Now Hamas is suggesting the ceasefire, and believe it or not, David, they’ve even violated their own ceasefire.
Here is the full White House statement issued Sunday afternoon:
“President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke again today by phone about the situation in Gaza. The President underscored the United States’ strong condemnation of Hamas’ rocket and tunnel attacks against Israel and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself. The President also reiterated the United States’ serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, as well as the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.
“Building on Secretary Kerry’s efforts, the President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement. The President reaffirmed the United States’ support for Egypt’s initiative, as well as regional and international coordination to end hostilities. The President underscored the enduring importance of ensuring Israel’s security, protecting civilians, alleviating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis, and enacting a sustainable ceasefire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza’s long-term development and economic needs, while strengthening the Palestinian Authority. The President stressed the U.S. view that, ultimately, any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza.”