As Israeli airstrikes into Hamas-controlled Gaza expand from
government targets into civilian areas, President Obama reiterated his
support of Israel's "right to defend itself."
"[T]here 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," Mr. Obama said at a news conference in Bangkok during
an international trip to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.
"Let's understand what the precipitating event here was that's causing
the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles
that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are
populated," the president added. Hamas launched rockets into Israel
leading to the current crisis.
In Bangkok, Mr. Obama said long-term peace is unlikely unless Hamas
agrees to cease firing rockets into Israel.
"[T]hose who champion the cause of the Palestinians should recognize
that if we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, then the
likelihood of us getting back on any sort of peace track that leads to
a two-state solution is, is going to be pushed off way into the
future," Mr. Obama said. "So if we're serious about wanting to resolve
this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no
more missiles being fired in Israel's territory and that then gives us
the space to try to deal with these longstanding conflicts that