Former President Barack Obama has released a statement regarding the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza, expressing deep concern over the escalating death toll. In his statement, Obama condemned the deadly attacks initiated by the militant group Hamas on October 7, characterizing them as “unspeakable brutality.” While affirming Israel’s right to self-defense, he emphasized the importance of adhering to international law.
Obama’s statement underscores the critical need for Israel to conduct its military operations within the framework of international law, with a particular focus on minimizing harm to civilian populations. This viewpoint aligns with President Biden’s repeated emphasis on these principles.
The former president emphasized that upholding international law is essential not only for the immediate situation but also for building alliances and shaping international opinion. He acknowledged the inherent challenges in balancing military operations with the protection of civilians, a complex task made even more difficult in the midst of conflict.
The violence in the region has already claimed the lives of thousands of civilians. The initial attack by Hamas on October 7 resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis, primarily civilians. Notably, the U.S. and other countries have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.
During this conflict, Hamas militants took more than 200 people hostage during their initial raid on Israel, including many believed to be civilians. Multiple countries are currently engaged in negotiations for the release of these hostages, with at least four having been released thus far.
Tragically, more than 5,000 Palestinians have lost their lives in the ongoing Gaza conflict, including a staggering 2,055 children and 1,119 women. Furthermore, over 15,000 people have been injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry’s report.
In his statement, Obama sounded an alarm regarding the deepening humanitarian crisis in the region. He expressed concern over Israel’s decision to cut off essential supplies to Gaza following the attacks, warning that this action could exacerbate the already dire humanitarian situation. He also cautioned that such actions could risk eroding global support for Israel and harm the prospects for lasting peace and stability in the region.
Obama concluded his statement by urging people to reject antisemitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, and anti-Palestinian sentiments. He emphasized that both Israel and Palestinians have a right to exist and that acknowledging the historical complexities of their coexistence is essential. He called upon all individuals to strive for a better future for the children of both nations and to demonstrate through their actions the world they wish to pass on to the next generation.