President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the people of Gaza need greater hope for the future, as he urged the extension of an Israel-Hamas ceasefire. “The US goal right now would be to make sure that the ceasefire holds, that Gaza can begin the process of rebuilding,” Obama told a news conference.
Similarly, he said, Israelis need to “feel confident that they’re not going to have a repeat of the kind of rocket launchers that we’ve seen over the last several weeks.”
Obama said that the United States was supporting ceasefire talks but added: “Long-term, there has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently closed off from the world.”
Ordinary Palestinians living in the impoverished, blockaded Hamas-ruled territory need to “have some prospects for an opening of Gaza so that they do not feel walled off,” Obama said.
Obama reiterated his concern over civilians killed in the conflict. His stance has drawn unusually sharp rebukes from politicians in Israel.
“I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza,” Obama said.
“I think Abu Mazen is sincere in his desire for peace, but they (the Palestinian Authority) have also been weakened, I think, during this process,” Mr Obama said, referring to Abbas by his nom de guerre.
“The populations in the West Bank may have also lost confidence or lost a sense of hope in terms of how to move forward,” he said.
Read more: AFP