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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Role in Fighting IS Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid