Speed Reads

foreign affairs

Obama: Gaza cannot remain 'closed off from the world'

During a question-and-answer session at the end of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on Wednesday, President Obama said that while he has "great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza," he has "no sympathy for Hamas," which "acts extraordinarily irresponsibly."

The president said a short-term goal of the cease-fire, in its second day on Wednesday, is "rebuilding a Gaza that's been really badly damaged as a consequence of this conflict." Looking further ahead, he said:

There has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently closed off from the world and incapable of providing some opportunity — jobs, economic growth — for the population that lives there...

...The U.S. goal right now would be to make sure that the cease-fire holds, that Gaza can begin the process of rebuilding, and that some measures are taken so that the people of Gaza feel some sense of hope, and the people of Israel feel confident that they're not going to have a repeat of the kind of rocket launches that we've seen over the last several weeks.