Former U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in on the escalating conflict in the Middle East, saying that Israel’s military siege on Gaza could backfire if the “human costs” and impact on innocent civilians are ignored.
In a lengthy statement on Monday, Obama wrote that Israel has a right to respond to Hamas’ recent attack that killed over 1,000 Israelis, but it should follow “a strategy that can incapacitate Hamas while minimizing further civilian casualties.”
Obama also noted that Hamas’ leadership “seems to intentionally hide among civilians, thereby endangering the very people they claim to represent.”
Thousands of people in Gaza have been killed in Israeli airstrikes since the Hamas attack, according to Palestinian health officials, and Israel is reportedly preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza.
Obama said Israel’s recent move to cut off food, water, and electricity to Gaza threatens to “worsen a growing humanitarian crisis,” erodes support for Israel, and could “undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.”