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Ahead of an expected Israeli military ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, former President Barack Obama commented Monday on the deadly conflict in the Middle East. He reiterated that Israel has the right to defend itself against violence such as the terrorist attacks by the militant group Hamas, while warning that any Israeli military strategy “that ignores the human cost could ultimately backfire.”

Israeli troops are massing around the Gaza Strip, preparing for a ground invasion that could lead to fierce urban fighting in the densely populated area. The invasion comes weeks after Hamas attackers advanced into southern Israel, killing at least 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages.

In a more than 1,000-word statement posted on the online site Medium, Obama said the devastating humanitarian consequences of cutting off food, water and electricity in Gaza “further hardens Palestinian attitudes for generations, drawing global support.” for Israel and could have a negative impact on the situation. “They fall into the hands of Israel’s enemies and undermine long-term efforts for peace and stability in the region.”

Obama advocated for continued U.S. support for Israeli efforts to crack down on Hamas and supported Israel’s right to exist. At the same time, he called on the Israeli military to pursue strategies that are “consistent with international law, including laws aimed at avoiding, as much as possible, the death or suffering of civilians.”

“While we support Israel, we should also be aware of how Israel is pursuing this fight against Hamas,” Obama wrote. “Thousands of Palestinians have already been killed in the bombing of Gaza, many of them children.”

He also addressed the seemingly unattainable goal of ultimately creating a nation for the Palestinian people, calling for “recognition that Palestinians have also lived in disputed areas for generations,” while also criticizing Israeli settlers taking over Palestinian territory West Bank.

“This is the best and perhaps only way to achieve the lasting peace and security that most Israeli and Palestinian families long for,” he said.

Some Palestinian leaders “who have been willing to make concessions for a two-state solution,” he added, “too often have little to show for their efforts.”

Obama nodded to the trend in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of Israeli hardliners generally accusing critics of the Jewish state of anti-Semitism. He said that while there should be no tolerance for anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian rhetoric, “it is possible for people of goodwill to stand up for the rights of Palestinians and to oppose certain policies of the Israeli government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” to resist.” without being anti-Semitic.”

Obama’s statements reflect positions he took during and before his term in office, as he continued to support a two-state solution to the long-running conflict. From the first days of his presidency, Obama took a tough stance on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, calling on Israel to halt all settlement activity to provide impetus for peace.

As president in 2013, Obama tried to broker peace talks that soon collapsed, and he has always had a frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In his Medium post, Obama also supported the strategy that Biden and his top diplomatic and military advisers have embarked on to balance U.S. support for Israel with concern for the well-being of civilians in the Gaza Strip and the worst-case scenario of a major Middle East conflict to reconcile .

As the Washington Post reported this week, Biden and his administration have begun reminding Netanyahu that “democracies like Israel and the United States are stronger and safer when we act in accordance with the rule of law.”

Obama said it was understandable after Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel that “many Israelis have demanded that their government do whatever is necessary to root out Hamas and ensure that such attacks never happen again.”

But the former president pointed out that Hamas’ military operations “are deeply rooted in the Gaza Strip and its leadership appears to be intentionally hiding among the civilian population, endangering the very people it claims to represent.”

The former president said he thought Israel’s decision to allow aid trucks into Gaza – a move prompted in part by the Biden administration – was “an encouraging step” but said the international community needed to do more to address the issue Speed ​​delivery of critical assistance.

On Saturday, aid trucks arrived in Gaza for the first time since the start of the war, entering the Gaza Strip through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing. Supplies of food, drinking water and fuel are dwindling in the Gaza Strip, where more than two million people face relentless airstrikes and an Israeli siege.

While Biden has steadfastly stood behind Israel since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, the president’s rhetoric has shifted in recent days as he has sought to distinguish between militants and Palestinian civilians.

The former president concluded his thoughts with links to news, analysis and opinion pieces that he said provide “useful perspective and background on the conflict.”

Abigail Hauslohner and Glenn Kessler contributed reporting.

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