Obama warns Israel against maintaining siege on Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip

Former President Obama condemns Hamas – but warns Israel that its response could erode international support for the Jewish state.

By World Israel News Staff

Former President Barack Obama warned Israel against maintaining its partial siege on the Gaza Strip, arguing that any measures that “harden” Palestinian Arab views of Israel could backfire.

In a statement published Monday, the former president condemned Hamas massacres of Israelis that left more than 1,400 people dead and 0ver 220 in captivity.

“It’s been 17 days since Hamas launched its horrific attack against Israel, killing over 1,400 Israeli citizens, including defenseless women, children and the elderly.”

“In the aftermath of such unspeakable brutality, the U.S. government and the American people have shared in the grief of families, prayed for the return of loved ones, and rightly declared solidarity with the Israeli people.”

“Israel has a right to defend its citizens against such wanton violence, and I fully support President Biden’s call for the United States to support our long-time ally in going after Hamas, dismantling its military capabilities, and facilitating the safe return of hundreds of hostages to their families.”

But Obama also criticized Jerusalem’s decision to halt electricity and fuel transfers to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and to strictly limit the transfer of water.

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“Even as we support Israel, we should also be clear that how Israel prosecutes this fight against Hamas matters. In particular, it matters — as President Biden has repeatedly emphasized — that Israel’s military strategy abides by international law, including those laws that seek to avoid, to every extent possible, the death or suffering of civilian populations.”

“Upholding these values is important for its own sake — because it is morally just and reflects our belief in the inherent value of every human life. Upholding these values is also vital for building alliances and shaping international opinion — all of which are critical for Israel’s long-term security.”

“The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population (in Gaza) threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long-term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.”

Obama compared Israel’s response to the October 7th invasion to the American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting that Jerusalem moderate its actions vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip.

“America itself has at times fallen short of our higher values when engaged in war, and in the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. government wasn’t interested in heeding the advice of even our allies when it came to the steps we took to protect ourselves against Al Qaeda.”

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“Now, after the systematic massacre of Israeli citizens, a massacre that evokes some of the darkest memories of persecution against the Jewish people, it’s understandable that many Israelis have demanded that their government do whatever it takes to root out Hamas and make sure such attacks never happen again.”

The former president called to oppose antisemitism “in all its forms, everywhere,” then conflated persecution of Jews to “anti-Palestinian sentiment.”

It means rejecting anti-Muslim, anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian sentiment. It means refusing to lump all Palestinians with Hamas or other terrorist groups. It means guarding against dehumanizing language towards the people of Gaza, or downplaying Palestinian suffering — whether in Gaza or the West Bank — as irrelevant or illegitimate.

Obama went on to rail against Israelis settling in Judea and Samaria, and rejected that such criticism constitutes antisemitism.

“It means acknowledging that Palestinians have also lived in disputed territories for generations; that many of them were not only displaced when Israel was formed but continue to be forcibly displaced by a settler movement that too often has received tacit or explicit support from the Israeli government; that Palestinian leaders who’ve been willing to make concessions for a two-state solution have too often had little to show for their efforts; and that it is possible for people of good will to champion Palestinian rights and oppose certain Israeli government policies in the West Bank and Gaza without being anti-semitic.”

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