Speed Reads

Israel and Palestine

Obama calls for ceasefire in Gaza: Death of Palestinian civilians 'a tragedy'

President Obama delivered a brief speech Monday night at an Iftar dinner, the evening meal for Muslims during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, and reiterated the administration's call for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip.

Our goal has been and continues to be peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. And I will say very clearly, no country can accept rocket fired indiscriminately at citizens. And so, we've been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.

At the same time, on top of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that we've worked long and hard to alleviate, the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, which is why we've emphasized the need to protect civilians, regardless of who they are or where they live. [Obama]

Watch the full video of Obama's speech, posted below. The section about Israel and Gaza begins at roughly the 6:30 mark. --Eric Kleefeld