News / Middle East

US Shows Support, Urges Restraint for Israel

Patients are treated in Shifa hospital in Gaza City, July 18, 2014.
Patients are treated in Shifa hospital in Gaza City, July 18, 2014.
Carla BabbPamela Dockins

U.S. President Barack Obama say he has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "no nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders," as Israeli troops backed by tanks, aircraft and navy ships continued to advance into the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at the White House Friday, the president told reporters he made clear during a phone conversation with Netanyahu that the understanding is that the ground operation will destroy tunnels that Hamas militants are using to attack Israel.

"We are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and that all of us are working hard to return to the ceasefire that was reach in November of 2012," said President Obama.

Palestinian medics say at least 25 Gaza residents have died since the start of the ground offensive.  In total, more than 265 Palestinians have died since July 8, when Israel expanded its airstrikes in Gaza in what it said was an attempt to stop rocket fire into Israel.

The United Nations says about four out of five of those killed have been civilians, including dozens of children.  Two Israelis have died.

The Israeli army reported its first fatality early Friday when a soldier was killed during clashes with fighters from Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on the crisis in Gaza later Friday.

Overnight, the Israeli army said via Twitter that it killed 14 militants, destroyed 20 rocket launchers, carried out nine strikes on tunnels and hit a total of 103 "terror targets."

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said Friday he was prepared to "significantly widen" the offensive, which until now appears to be more limited than Israel's 2008 and 2009 operation when about 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

Yonah Jeremy Bob, a legal affairs correspondent at The Jerusalem Post, tells VOA the invasion seems to be restricted to strikes by special forces in urban neighborhoods. He says most Israeli troops are either massed in open spaces on the edge of Gaza or are starting to surround urban areas.

"The Israeli government is hoping that with this initial operation and by destroying a lot of the tunnels in open areas, destroying more targets in some of the urban settings, that if they bloody Hamas' nose up enough, they'll be willing to settle for cease fire terms closer to what Israel wants," said Bob.

Hamas in recent days has proposed a multi-year truce that includes demands such as the lifting of the long-standing Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, opening air, sea and land entries into Gaza, and the release of Palestinian prisoners arrested by Israel last month in the West Bank.

Israel has instead been pushing for an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire that calls for a "cessation of hostilities" in exchange for an increased movement of people and goods between Gaza and Israel. Hamas has rejected the plan, saying the offer amounts to a surrender.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, tells VOA that the fighting has made conditions intolerable for the 1.8 million Palestinians who live in the impoverished Gaza Strip.

"The humanitarian plight of civilians in Gaza was desperate and has become absolutely catastrophic. Before the fighting, over 90 percent of the water was undrinkable, millions of liters of raw sewage flowed into the sea every day. Those dependant on UNRWA for food was well over 800,000. Then the war happened. 22,000 people have been displaced," aid Gunness.

Mohammed Suliman is a 24-year-old Gaza City resident. He says that the airstrikes and shelling in his neighborhood are increasing. Early Friday, he said Israeli missiles struck an apartment building next door to his home at least five different times, killing a woman. He he says he had witnessed no militant activity in the area.

"I really feel like I could lose my life at any moment if I go outside. I've never been scared for my life like this. I really know that if I go out, it could be me being killed. There have been numerous cases of people who are killed merely for being outside of their home," said Suliman.

 

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: tw from: dfw
July 27, 2014 12:24 PM
If the Palestinians want to be safe they should get rid of Hamas.
Israel should be free to defend their citizens again all threats.
As they see fit, without restrictions. Secretary of State John Kerry sit down, shut up and stay home. Palestinians get rid of Hamas they are responsible for your deaths and destruction. Obama support our allies. Israel eliminate all terrorists.


by: ali baba from: new york
July 18, 2014 5:07 PM
Yes ,we need restraint , We have to stop killing. even Hamas is a terrorist organization ,but we have to put in our consideration the civilian that killed


by: Jonathan from: USA
July 18, 2014 2:47 PM
I can't believe anyone would ask Israel to use restraint against Hamas. It is too bad that Palestinians will be killed but THAT is the fault of Hamas. Hamas has no concern for any human life. Israel should attack until all Hamas terrorists are wiped out. If Palestinians don't want blood shed then THEY should also fight Hamas. Hamas is the cold blooded murderer of all Gaza citizens. They are not "holy" they are evil followers of Satan.

In Response

by: mahmood from: usa
July 20, 2014 7:22 AM
I agree and disagree at the same time. So far Israel seems like they are trying to take over Gaza and push the palistines into a smaller area then before Hamas is trying to open a barrier between Israel and the shitty Gaza which is almost unlivable in. As many articles say the idf is shooting at buildings with no militant activity do wtf are they doing. Now imagine if this was reversed that Israel was fighting for freedom then guess who everybody would be calling terrorists and who would be called the poor ones


by: fred sanford from: usa
July 18, 2014 2:45 PM
hamas will never want peace if life is so hard thay should move to iran we we can wipe the world free of nut jobs once and for all


by: john2379 from: USA
July 18, 2014 2:43 PM
What can be expected from Obama? whose congress and senate are more hawkish than any Israeli as far as Palestinian issue is concern. Well it was their baby (Israel) dropped on the Arab land 70 years ago to wash their sins. Their humanity, morality, fairness and justice end at the door step of Israel. But by providing free hands to Israel to carry out their inhuman mission, unfortunately, America is providing fertile ground to breed more and more militants around the globe including the USA and Europe too.

In Response

by: choppe123 from: Detroit
July 20, 2014 1:28 AM
Hamas is a Iranian proxy group that continues to harass and fire rockets. Its that simple. every nation has a right to defend itself.
On the other hand, innocent civilians should be protected.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid