Barack Obama acknowledged yesterday that the lack of opportunities and the economic hardships faced by Palestinians are breeding grounds for violence. But as explained in an Aug. 7 report from The Jerusalem Post, the president has no sympathy for Hamas, the Palestinian group labeled a terrorist organization by the United States.
"I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza," Obama said at a press conference.
The president, who spoke on the topic during the press conference after the close of the US-Africa Leaders Summit on Wednesday, recalled that he has consistently supported Israel's right to defend itself and he expressed that he feels compassion for the innocent victims of Gaza, which account for 80% of deaths and injuries. The UN says 65,000 people have been left homeless, and a half million have no water or electricity and as many as 400,000 children experience symptoms of psychological trauma, such as bedwetting or nightmares.
The president has once again stressed that no country would tolerate rockets being launched into their cities. At the same time, he acknowledged he was "heartbroken" by Palestinian civilians killed during the conflict.
"I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza," Obama said emphatically." And the question then becomes, can we find a formula in which Israel has greater assurance that Gaza will not be a launching pad for further attacks, perhaps more dangerous attacks as technology develops into their country."
Obama said that he wishes that the people of Gaza can start rebuilding with "some sense of hope." He said... “there has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently, closed off from the world.” The president's strategy seems to also include the empowerment of the Palestinian Authority. He noted that a peaceful resolution in Gaza “will have to involve” the Palestinian Authority.