Former U.S. President Barack Obama shared his worries about some of Israel’s actions in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza, stating that these actions might have negative consequences.
Obama commented on the situation, highlighting the potential long-term effects.
“The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water, and electricity to a captive civilian population (in Gaza) threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long-term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region,” Obama said.
Gaza has been subjected to extensive air strikes by Israel since Hamas initiated an attack on October 7, leading to significant casualties.
While Obama condemned Hamas’ assault and supported Israel’s right to self-defense, he also urged caution regarding the impact on civilians during such conflicts.
It remains unclear whether Obama coordinated his statement with current U.S. President Joe Biden, who served as his vice president for eight years.
During his own presidency, Obama often endorsed Israel’s right to self-defense initially but later called for restraint when Palestinian casualties increased due to airstrikes.
Gaza, a narrow strip of land housing 2.3 million people, has been under Hamas’s political control since 2007, although it faces an Israeli blockade.
The Obama administration had attempted to facilitate a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but these efforts ultimately failed.
Since taking office in early 2021, President Biden has not attempted to restart stalled negotiations, citing stubbornness on both sides and an unfavorable climate for peace talks.
Notably, Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a tense relationship during Obama’s time in office, especially when Obama’s administration was negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.
Biden, as Obama’s vice president, often acted as a mediator between the two leaders.
In his statement, Obama acknowledged that the United States had sometimes fallen short of its values when engaged in wars, particularly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.