President Barack Obama Monday demanded that Israel stop its efforts to destroy the tunnels used by Hamas to launch rocket and jihad attacks against Israeli civilians, and called for a ceasefire on terms favorable to Hamas.
Hamas shields its tunnels from airstrikes by placing them in heavily populated civilian neighborhoods. The tunnels also extend under the border so Hamas jihadis can attack Israeli civilians and border patrols.
Israel has sent in ground units to find and destroy the tunnels, but Hamas’ forces are trying to repel the Israeli units in house-to-house fighting.
The resulting battles are killing some civilians, whose bodies are brought to a local hospital for display by international media.
Obama reacted Monday to Hamas’ strategy of showcasing civilian casualties.
“It now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a ceasefire that ends the fighting,” Obama said in short statement from a podium behind the White House.
Obama’s Gaza intervention will likely be welcome by Hamas, partly because the Israeli military is battling its way through Hamas’ defenses. Also, Israeli officials are suggesting they will continue their offensive until Hamas is disarmed, and is no longer a threat to Israeli civilians. More