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Obama: Cease-fire in Gaza must endure


Source: | 01-24-2009 09:52

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

Barack Obama says the current cease-fire in Gaza must endure. Discussing the conflict publicly for the first time since taking office, Obama on Thursday called on Hamas to end rocket fire at Israel, and Israel to completely withdraw from Gaza.

US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 22, 2009, at the State Department in Washington, DC. Obama said the eight-year ban he lifted Friday on US funding to family planning groups abroad that counseled abortion was "unnecessarily broad and unwarranted" and had become too politicized an issue.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)
US President Barack Obama, seen here on January 22, 2009,
at the State Department in Washington, DC. Obama said the
eight-year ban he lifted Friday on US funding to family
planning groups abroad that counseled abortion was "
unnecessarily broad and unwarranted" and had become too
politicized an issue.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

Obama named George Mitchell as a special envoy to the Middle East on the same day.

Appearing with his State Department staff in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Obama reiterated America's commitment to security in Israel.

He said the US will always support Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas rocket fire.

Barack Obama, US President, said, "No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people, nor should the international community, and neither should the Palestinian people themselves, who's interests are only set back by acts of terror."

Obama said he was also concerned with the loss of life and the suffering taking place in Gaza and that his heart goes out to civilians who are without food, water or medical care.

Both Israel's foreign ministry and the Palestinian National Authority on Friday welcomed President Obama's statements and actions to push forward the Middle East peace process.

Yigal Palmor, Spokesman, Israeli Foreign Ministry, said, "We think that any American involvement that will push forward peace talks will be beneficial for both Israelis and Palestinians."

Saeb Erekat, Aide to Palestian President, said, "President Obama reiterated to President Abbas his commitment to pursue the peace process, so did Secretary Clinton last night, and I believe their appointment to Senator Mitchell to be the special envoy to the middle East peace process is a significant step."

But not everyone felt that way.

On Al Jazeera, a Hamas representative was dismissive of Obama's comments, saying his position towards the Palestinians does not represent change, and will lead to the same mistakes as his predecessor.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei