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No sympathy for Hamas but Gaza cannot stay closed off, says Obama

Israelis need to “feel confident that they’re not going to have a repeat of the kind of rocket launchers that we’ve seen over the last several weeks,” US President Barack Obama says.

Speaking at a news conference, Obama says the United States was supportive of ceasefire talks but: “Long-term, there has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently closed off from the world.”

Ordinary Palestinians living in the impoverished, blockaded Hamas-ruled territory need to “have some prospects for an opening of Gaza so that they do not feel walled off,” Obama says.

President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Obama insists he has “consistently supported Israel’s right to defend itself” and repeatedly castigated Hamas, saying that the terror group has acted “extraordinarily irresponsibly” by launching rockets into Israel.

“I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza,” Obama says.

— AFP, Times of Israel staff

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