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World Leaders Express Support for Israel

Yesterday evening, President Obama joined many other world leaders in expressing support for Israel as it defends itself from ongoing rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The Times of Israel reports that the president also offered to help arrange a ceasefire:

“The president expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasized the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm,” the White House said in a statement.

“The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.”

Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson, differentiated between Israeli efforts to reduce civilian casualties and Hamas’s actions to target civilians.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think it’s important to note here that no country should have to live under the constant threat of indiscriminate violence against innocent civilians. That’s what we’re looking at here. I think it’s important context here that Hamas is a terrorist organization. They have been launching indiscriminate number of attacks against Israel. Israel, we – of course, as I had mentioned yesterday, but it’s worth repeating, we are – it’s clear that civilians have been killed, that – including children. This is deeply tragic and we have been continuing to call on both sides to take steps to protect civilians. I would note that while the Israelis have taken steps to try to prevent civilian casualties by warning – providing warning in advance, that is not what, of course, Hamas is doing, and they have continued their indiscriminate attacks against – including civilian areas in Israel.

The Times of Israel also reported that other leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the beginning of Operation Preventive Edge.

Cameron, for instance, “strongly condemned the appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians.” He assured Netanyahu of London’s “staunch support for Israel in the face of such attacks, and underlined Israel’s right to defend itself from them,” according to a statement his office released.

Canada’s Harper “reiterated Canada’s steadfast support for Israel and its right to defend itself against these terror attacks,” his official website states. He agreed with Netanyahu that “Hamas must end its targeted attacks on Israeli citizens.”

CanadianForeign Minister John Baird and Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma offered their support on Twitter.

Yesterday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the violence is “preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing.”

In contrast Turkey demonstrated its increasing isolation from the West by condemning Protective Edge.

[Photo: Pete Souza / WikiCommons ]