President Barack Obama suggested Sunday that it was “preferable” that Israel did not launch a ground invasion in Gaza, but stood firm over support of its ally despite mounting Palestinian civilian casualties.
Speaking at the start of a three-day tour of south-east Asia, he reiterated the White House position that rockets fired into Israel by Hamas were the “precipitating event” in the ratcheting up of cross-border conflict.
Obama added that America had been “actively working with all the parties in the region” to bring about a de-escalation of violence and that the next 48 hours would be important if progress were to be made.
The comments come on a backdrop of a continuing pummeling of Gaza from missile strikes. Overnight, two children died and 12 people were injured when houses were hit in northern Gaza by Israeli shells.
Since Wednesday, 57 Palestinians have been killed as a result of air strikes, including 24 civilians. More than 400 Gazans have been wounded, according to medics.
Meanwhile, Hamas has continued to fire rockets into Israel, resulting in three civilian deaths.
Despite the growing number of Palestinian casualties, Obama again declined to criticise the show of force by its traditional Middle East ally during Sunday’s press conference.
He blamed Hamas for provoking Israel with an “ever-escalating number of missiles”.
“There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.
“And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” Obama said.
Asked whether he believed an Israeli ground invasion would be an escalation of the conflict and if he would support such a move, Obama said he had been in regular contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and with Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.
“My message to all of them was Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory.”
“If this can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that is preferable, that’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza, it’s also preferable for Israelis because if Israeli troops are in Gaza they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded,” he said.
He added: “We’re going to have to see what kind of progress we can make in the next 24, 36, 48 hours.”
WATCH: Trump shamed Thanksgiving turkey for refusing to concede White House pardon contest
It was just two years ago that President Donald Trump mocked a Thanksgiving turkey for refusing to concede the election for a White House pardon. As Thanksgiving 2020 approaches, Trump has officially become that turkey.
"This was a fair election... unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount," Trump announced about the battle between Carrots and Peas.
"We're still fighting with Carrots," he joked in a speech. "And I will tell you, we've come to a conclusion: Carrots, I'm sorry to tell you, the results did not change. Too bad for Carrots."
It's unclear if Carrots still maintains the election was rigged, as President Trump does about the 2020 election. He joined Peas at Virginia Tech’s “Gobblers Rest” exhibit in Blacksburg, Virginia. There students and veterinarians within Virginia Tech’s Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences care for all turkeys given a pardon.
Security guard interrupts COVID-denier’s speech and quits on the spot: ‘She’s trivializing the Holocaust’
A video from Germany is circulating on social media, showing a COVID-denier addressing a rally, only to have her speech interrupted by a security guard who was disgusted by her comparisons of pandemic restrictions to the Holocaust.
“I feel like Sophie Scholl, since I've been active in the resistance, giving speeches, going to protests, distributing flyers," the woman says to the audience, referring to the famous "White Rose" resistance fighter who opposed the Nazis during World War II.
The View’s Ana Navarro bashes Republicans refusing to stop Trump: ‘They’re going to go down in shame’
"The View" co-hosts are furious that President Donald Trump is still refusing to stand down after losing the 2020 election. To make matters worse, Republican communications consultant Ana Navarro blames Republicans for allowing the madness to persist for so long that it's now starting to put the United States in a compromised situation.
"Look, I don't know what it's going to take because really it should have happened weeks ago," said Navarro. "States are beginning to certify their results. Electors vote in a couple of weeks, but you know, Whoopi, I keep talking about history and how history is going to judge this. There are going to be books written about this. It's going to be studied by school kids in 30 years and 40 years."