President Barack Obama is calling on Israel and Hamas to take steps aimed at ensuring that the cease-fire that’s in place in Gaza will endure. Weighing in on the conflict for the first time following his inauguration, Obama said that going forward, Hamas must end rocket fire at Israel, and Israel must “complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza.” Although those steps were taken this week, low-level violence has marred the fragile cease-fire.
Obama said his administration will support a “credible” system of ending smuggling into Gaza.
He said he’s “deeply concerned” by the loss of life among both Israelis and Palestinians, and by the suffering taking place in Gaza. He said his heart goes out to civilians who are going without food, water or medical care.
He said Gaza‘s borders should be opened to allow aid to come in, with “appropriate monitoring.”