In the wake of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, former President Barack Obama has expressed his support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens. He also endorsed President Joe Biden’s call for the U.S. to assist Israel in dismantling Hamas’ military capabilities and ensuring the safe return of hostages.
However, Obama emphasized the importance of Israel adhering to international law in its military strategy, particularly in avoiding civilian casualties.
In a post written on Medium, Obama acknowledged the complexity of the situation, noting that Hamas’ operations are deeply embedded within Gaza, often among civilians. He warned that the world is closely watching Israel’s actions, and any strategy that disregards the human cost could backfire. He pointed to the thousands of Palestinians killed and displaced by the bombing of Gaza, and the potential for Israel’s actions to exacerbate a humanitarian crisis and harden Palestinian attitudes.
Obama urged those supporting Israel to encourage a strategy that incapacitates Hamas while minimizing civilian casualties. He praised Israel’s recent decision to allow relief trucks into Gaza, a move prompted by the Biden administration’s diplomacy. He also called for engagement with Palestinian leaders who recognize Israel’s right to exist, to begin outlining a viable path for Palestinian self-determination.
Obama called for a rejection of anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiment, and the dehumanization of Palestinians. He stressed the importance of recognizing both Israel’s right to exist and the Palestinians’ historical presence in the disputed territories. He urged for respectful dialogue and the modeling of a peaceful, secure, and dignified future for Israeli and Palestinian children.
Read more at Medium.