President Barack Obama stressed the importance of restraint between the Israelis and Palestinians, as a handful of violent murders sparks violence and missile strikes.
“At this dangerous moment, all parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution,” Obama wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, ahead of their annual peace conference.
“And as a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain endured by the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were tragically kidnapped and murdered in June. I am also heartbroken by the senseless abduction and murder of Mohammed Hussein Abu Khdeir, whose life was stolen from him and his family,” he wrote.
Khdeir, a Palestinian teen, was kidnapped and burned to death by several Israelis, a crime thought to be revenge for the aforementioned Israeli teens. Riots and protests broke out and the two regions began firing rockets and missiles back and forth, breaking the cease-fire for the first time in more than a year. A video of one of Khdeir’s American cousins being beaten by Israeli security officers later emerged and further escalated the tensions.
The president also voiced strong support for a two-state solution, buried by more than 900 words reiterating of America’s commitment to protecting Israel.
“Just as the Israeli people have the right to live in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, the Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination,” he wrote. “The only solution is a democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state.”
Throughout the piece, Obama stressed his commitment to Israel.
“As I’ve said time and again, neither I nor the United States will ever waver in our commitment to the security of Israel and the Israeli people, and our support for peace will always remain a bedrock foundation of that commitment,” he wrote, citing the removal of Syria’s declared chemical weapons and their efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms.
“Finally, peace is possible. This is one of the most important things to remember during setbacks and moments of frustration,” Obama wrote. “But at the end of the day, we know where negotiations must lead–two states for two peoples. Refusing to compromise or cooperate with one another won’t do anything to increase security for either the Israeli or the Palestinian people.”
“For all that Israel has accomplished, for all that Israel will achieve, Israel cannot be complete and it cannot be secure without peace,” the president concluded.